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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

W. Preston Gleason

First Committee Member

Martin T. Gipson

Second Committee Member

Harold Jacoby

Third Committee Member

Madeline Bunning

Fourth Committee Member

Helmut H. Reimer


The purposes of this exploratory study were to determine whether behavior modification procedures interrelated with group meeting experiences could be used effectively with boys on probation in their natural social environment to influence the frequency of: (1) school attendance, (2) promptness to classes, ( 3) disciplinary referrals , ( 4) violations of probation, and (5) attendance at group meetings. A final purpose. of the study was the development of a group meeting system using school counselors as cooperative treatment personnel with probation officers to increase rehabilitation contacts with delinquent youth.

The study was based upon the assumptions of behavioral psychology. Thus, focus was on the observable interactions of human beings and environmental events, the experimental field study as an objective measure of this functional relationship, and the management of reinforcement contingencies to increase desired behaviors.

An intrasubject replication design was used with the experimental group. In the first phase of the study, lasting eight weeks, baseline data on the four behaviors, school attendance, promptness to classes, disciplinary referrals and violations of probation were collected. During the second phase, a six-week reinforcement procedures, the experimental subjects were offered the opportunity to attend group meetings conducted by the probation officer and school counselor. The subjects could earn points for attending group meetings and for their performance relative to the four behaviors. These points could be exchanged later for days off probation at a prescribed ratio. At the end of the six-week phase, all reinforcement procedures were terminated temporarily; the weekly meetings continued, however, using conventional group counseling methods. This four-week non-reinforcement condition served as a second baseline phase alter which the positive reinforcement system was re-instituted for another six weeks. In addition to the experimental group, a control group of subjects was offered the opportunity to meet with a probation officer and school counselor using conventional group counseling methods. Data on the four behaviors and attendance at group meetings were recorded for both groups over the twenty-four weeks of the study.

Two types of analysis were reported for the data. First a detailed presentation of the findings was made with both groups analyzed for intrasubject and intersubject effects. A two-factor "mixed" design was used in the analysis. Second, the various components of the cooperative group meeting system were descriptively analyzed. Also, individual subject profiles and profile assessments were included as a function of the intrasubject replication methodology.

Several conclusions were reached as a result of this study. First, school attendance, classroom promptness and discipline referrals were not significantly altered through the use of behavior mortification techniques. Second, probation violations were significantly reduced through the use of behavior modification techniques. Finally, group meeting attendance was significantly higher during the reinforcement phase than during the non-reinforcement phase and also higher than for the group using conventional group counseling. The group meeting system offers an approach in which public schools and correctional agencies could cooperate in the rehabilitation of delinquent youth.



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