McNeil, James Kevin (1979) The effect of a self-government program on aggressive behaviour with institutionalized delinquent adolescents. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
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Evidence is available which suggests that peers influence inappropriate behaviour among delinquent adolescents. Other studies have shown peers to be effective behaviour modifiers. This investigation combines these findings to study the effect of a self-government program on decreasing the level of aggression of institutionalized delinquent adolescents. -- Subjects ranged in age from 14 to 16 (mean = 15.2). The number of subjects varied from 22 to 31 during the four months of this experiment, with equal numbers of boys and girls. The institution provided a contingency management program utilizing points as secondary reinforcers. -- Three measures of verbal and physical aggression were used to assess the efficacy of the experimental procedure: (a) the frequency of recorded staff punishment for the inappropriate behaviour categories of verbal or physical aggression, (b) surreptitious observations of aggressive behaviour during a daily recreation period, and (c) rating of social skills in response to provocative situations presented on audiotape. -- The residents were told that during the experimental period staff would not levy fines for the inappropriate behaviour categories of verbal and physical aggression. They were asked to propose their own set of rules for aggressive behaviour, to charge rule violators, to conduct court trials according to prescribed procedures, and to decide upon appropriate penalties. -- An ABAB withdrawal design was used to assess the effect of the self-government. -- Self-government did not differentially affect the level of fineable behaviour recorded by the staff. The rate of aggressive behaviour observed in recreation periods decreased markedly to .038 per person per minute in both experimental periods from .062 in the initial baseline and .054 in the withdrawal period. Social skills assessment revealed a minor change as a result of self-government. -- While the self-government program appears to have been effective in reducing interpersonal aggressive behaviour, the nature of the effective contingencies is unclear.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Additional Information:||Bibliography: leaves 54-56.|
|Department(s):||Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
|Library of Congress Subject Heading:||Aggressiveness in children; Behavior modification; Delinquents;|
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