Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Susan Caringella-MacDonald

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul C. Friday

Third Advisor

Dr. Bradley E. Huitema


Although the efficacy of correctional rehabilitation was questioned during the early 1970s, recent research has demonstrated that certain intervention programs, when implemented under appropriate conditions, are effective in reducing illegal behavior. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effectiveness of a court-based intervention for juvenile probationers.

The program was developed on the basis of caseworkers' assessments of youths' problems and needs. The theoretical perspective underlying the intervention consisted of a joint combination of critical, social control, and differential association theories. A major implication of theory is that the juvenile court's capacity to facilitate informal social control should be given priority over its role as an agent of formal control. Hence, the goals of the intervention were to augment social integration across conventional social institutions and, therefore, to reduce illegal activity among probationers. The program had three main components including job preparation workshops, an outdoor adventure experience, and family relationship counseling.

Forty-five youths participated in the research, with 22 of them taking part in the program and the remainder serving as controls. Effects were evaluated using a two-factor partially randomized-groups design. Pretest and posttest data were obtained on a variety of self-report measures as well as on several measures of official delinquency. The attendance and participation of the 22 experimental subjects were monitored throughout the intervention.

The data were analyzed using analysis of covariance. Despite prior research support for each of the intervention components, few positive findings were obtained. The self-reports of the experimental and control groups were not substantially different. Likewise, few differences emerged on the official measures, which spanned an 18 month follow-up period. However, significant differences were discovered for the offense activity of those youths with lengthy histories of criminal involvement.

The attendance and participation of experimental subjects were less than satisfactory, and these are described as one explanation for the disappointing outcomes. The methodological adequacy of the research is examined, and the findings are discussed with reference to theory. Implications for further program development and research are presented.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Criminology Commons