Comparison of pre-group and post-group measures for the G.I.R.L.S project
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of a gender specific treatment program. The G.I.R.L.S. Project. The theoretical premise of the G.I.R.L.S. Project is based in the theories of feminist scholars including Gilligan in which females are highly affected by their relationship. This theory suggests that the inappropriate behavior and poor choices of female juvenile offenders is in part due to negative relationships that do not empower the girls. This study will use quantitative data to specifically examine if the group creates change in the attitude the girls have towards their relationships. The study will also examine if these changes are then related to subsequent positive outcomes. It was hypothesized that participation in the program would result in significant changes in relationships that could be measured by comparing pre-group scores to post-group scores on scales being used to measure relationship change. The BASC-SRP-A (Behavior Assessment Scale for Children, Self-Report, Adolescent) was selected a priori by the program to measure the relationships. It was further hypothesized that changes in the relational measures will be related to recidivism. The study sample included 60 probated female adolescents ages 12-17 from various counties in northeast Georgia. Juvenile offense histories gathered to measure recidivism were accessed via the Juvenile Tracking System. Results of the initial study investigating changes in the four relationship areas indicated that significant pre-group versus post-group changes occurred in three of the four relationship areas: relationship to self (as measured by the subscale locus of control), relationship to parent (as measured by the subscale relationship to parents), and relationship to peers (as measured by the subscale social stress). A relationship was also found between recidivism of delinquent charges and improvement in relationship to school. Although significant improvements were found in the other three relationship areas the lack of a significant relationship between these improvements and the occurrence of post-group unruly or delinquent behavior could indicate that the need for further research to substantiate this portion of the theoretical premise. Implications of this study suggest that participation in the G.I.R.L.S. Project could prove beneficial to improving the relationships of female juvenile offenders and that changes in these relationships could be related to recidivism in this population. Given the need for gender specific programming for female juvenile offenders, the results of this study support further use of this program to further investigate its’ effectiveness in treating female juvenile delinquency.