Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Paul C. Friday

Second Advisor

Dr. Lewis Walker

Third Advisor

Dr. Abraham Nicolau


An extensive body of research exists which links various aspects of schooling to delinquency. Despite a small body of research suggesting that school-based delinquency reduction programs which employ democratic problem solving to alter the social organizational climates of schools are viable, few evaluations of such programs exist. The object of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of a three year school-based delinquency reduction project designed to alter the social organizational structure of a public junior high school.

This research describes the development, implementation and evaluation of the project which was guided by three interrelated theoretical perspectives: (1) the role relationships perspective which was used to conceptualize a model school organization, (2) a critical perspective which was employed to understand how schools are organized to produce school problems and delinquency, and (3) the program development and evaluation model which served as a guide to democratic program development, implementation and evaluation.

The research design consists of a "self-selected" nonequivalent control group design and various school and attitudinal data were collected from students at the project school and a control school over three years. A set of theoretically derived hypotheses regarding relationships between various aspects of schooling and delinquency, as well as hypotheses predicting positive changes in the schools' social organizational climate during the project were made. Correlation analysis, t-tests to examine differences in the project school and control school over time, and the calculation of effect sizes were used to examine project outcomes.

With few exceptions, the results support the hypotheses and suggest the project significantly reduced school problems and delinquency. Discussion of those interventions which most likely produced positive school changes and implications for future research are presented.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access