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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Graduate School

First Advisor

Fred Muskal

First Committee Member

Helmut H. Reimer

Second Committee Member

Glen Albaugh

Third Committee Member

Sandra Anselmo

Fourth Committee Member

R. Eugene R[?]


Problem. Catharsis is becoming more widely talked about as a method to get rid of negative emotions, to gain increased achievement, social maturity, and emotional well being. The emphasis on affective education is one example. There have been few controlled studies testing the catharsis hypothesis directly. No formal research is available that uses (randomly chosen) young people as subjects in studying emotional discharge.

Purpose. The purpose of the study is to see whether elementary school students can accept training in this re-evaluation counseling mental health model. Comparisons of those who hear about the model are made with those who hear about and use the model. These are contrasted with those who have no contact at all with the model.

Procedures. Eighty-seven subjects were randomly chosen from eight classes of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in a low-middle socio-economic school in Bakersfield, California. Each group met for a minimum of ten and a maximum of fifteen sessions between September and April, 1978 to 1979. The .10 level of confidence was adopted for all analyses of variance and t-tests. The Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills was given to the whole district and served as a pre- and posttest. The Vineland Social Maturity Scale, the Draw-a-Person Test, Sentence Completion items and an open ended interview were individually administered at the end of the study by blind school psychologists and graduate students.

Findings. The pretesting on the CTBS revealed original inequality between groups. This confounded the study, making it invalid to draw conclusions about achievement, social maturity, or intellectual development as it relates to emotional catharsis or R.C. instruction. There was no measurable difference seen in achievement, social maturity, or intellectual development in this study. Students receiving the Instruction in Re-evaluation Counseling (R.C.) were statistically higher on the measure of self-concept than the other two groups. More students who used emotional discharge enjoyed giving oral reports to their class than those receiving R.C. Instruction or the no-contact group. An unanticipated finding was less physical fighting on the part of the catharsis group. This was self-reported and reported by their peers.

Recommendations: (1) This study should be replicated, but with a slower, more gradual introduction to R.C. techniques to students. This may be difficult in a typical school setting because of the limited time available in the curriculum. (2) An alternative approach which might be tried is to train teachers in R.C. and perform research comparing trained with untrained teachers.



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