Self-monitoring requires clients to be mindful of the “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why” of the behavior they have targeted for change and to keep a careful and detailed record of their thoughts, feelings, actions and their environment at the moment that behavior occurred. Clients are also asked to keep track of the antecedents and consequences of their behaviors.
It is useful when direct observation by another party is limited or not possible.
One should keep in mind that accuracy is questionable with self-monitoring. Without contingencies in place to ensure reliability of data collection, there may be incentives for the participant to inaccurately report the presence of a specific setting event. An example here might be a participant who just experienced a toileting accident and fails to record it on her daily tracking sheet of self-initiated activities outside of the house because she is embarrassed.
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