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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Esther Cohen

First Committee Member

Kenneth L. Beauchamp

Second Committee Member

Martin T. Gipson


Juvenile delinquency is a prevalent problem in many communities. Social learning theory suggests that delinquent behavior results from inadequate learning experiences, negative parent and peer models, and peer reinforcement for aggressive and other delinquent behavior. Since youths are often confronted with strong negative influences (parents, peers), the study and promotion of social skills training programs which provide youths with constructive tools for handling difficult situations seems of great importance. To enhance generalization of social skill training with delinquents, the effect of positive peer influence on these youths also seems worthy of examination.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a social skills, problem solving training program for juvenile delinquents at the California Youth Authority. Also the relative efficacy of peer trainers as compared to adult trainers was examined. Lastly, the generalization of social skills to control delinquents exposed to treatment delinquents was assessed.

Youths were divided into groups with peer trainers, adult trainers, and no trainer (control groups). Treatment groups received six training sessions, each being a different social skill or problem solving strategy.