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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Mary Lynn Young

First Committee Member

Tom S. Allison

Second Committee Member

Martin Gipson

Third Committee Member

John R. Lutzker


Behavioral studies have shown that youths in various settings can function effectively as behavior change agents. This study used five 15 to 18 year old male youths in a closed institutional setting as behavior change agents for five male Youth Counselors. Youths specified staff behaviors they wanted to change, collected frequency data on each specified staff behavior, and suggested and implemented treatments to change staff behavior. A multiple baseline design across staff members was used to demonstrate the effects of youths' interventions on staff behaviors. Staff increased their frequency of positive verbal comments and decreased their frequency of negative verbal comments and threats .. _regarding loss of privileges following a one-time feedback -from youths regarding staff's baseline frequency_of responses. Two staff members received a second treatment consisting of verbal feedback and praise immediately following each data collection session. This treatment was too short to have an effect on positive and negative verbal comments, but ·appeared to decrease staff's frequency of threats to a near zero rate. Follow-up revealed that frequency of responses did not return to the baseline rate in most cases. Consistent with past studies that have used youths as behavioral change agents, the present findings demonstrate that 11 delinquent" youths can be (a) accurate and reliable data collectors, and (b) effective behavior change agents for staff.



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