Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Second Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Third Advisor

Duane C. McBride


Problem statement. African American youth are over-represented in the juvenile justice system, which fails to meet their needs. Research is necessary, therefore, to discover treatment alternatives that effectively address these delinquents' needs.

Methodology. This study examined the relationship between treatments and recidivism of 100 African American male delinquents under the age of 14. Recidivism was defined as any arrest, within a 3-year period, for either criminal or misdemeanor offenses, subsequent to the court's referral for the treatment programs named in the study. Only delinquents who were adjudicated for the first time in 1991 through 1994 were included in the study. Data were collected from the delinquents' social files at the Juvenile Justice Court in Kent County, Michigan, and analyzed by the ex post facto research method.

Results. Five hypotheses were tested in the study. Hypotheses 1 through 4 were tested with chi-square analysis.The independent variables for hypotheses 1 through 3 were the delinquents' ages, the delinquents' charges, and the offense level. All three hypotheses explored a relationship with the following dependent variables: the counseling-intensity treatments, the delinquents' families' participation in therapy, and the treatment duration.The independent variables for hypothesis 4 were the counseling-intensity treatments, the delinquents' families' participation in therapy, and the treatment duration. The dependent variable for hypothesis 4 was recidivism. Hypothesis 5 used discriminant analysis to discover if a linear combination of the following variables significantly relates to recidivism: age, charge, offense level, counseling intensity, family therapy, and treatment duration.

One hypothesis yielded significant findings. Hypothesis 3 results found that a significantly higher percentage ofjuveniles who committed violent crimes received moderate/strong-counseling-intensity treatments than juveniles who committed nonviolent crimes. Also, a significantly higher percentage of juveniles who committed violent crimes had family participation in therapy than did juveniles who committed nonviolent crimes.

Conclusions. Too few delinquents who committed violent offenses received treatments that would address both the delinquents' reasons for their first adjudication and ways to prevent duplication of problem behaviors (moderate/strong-counseling-intensity treatment). In addition, many families of juveniles who committed violent offenses were not involved in therapy.

Subject Area

Juvenile delinquents--Rehabilitation, African American youth


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