First Advisor

Keith Kaufman

Date of Publication

Summer 8-13-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Psychology






Oregon Youth Authority, Juvenile delinquents -- Rehabilitation -- Oregon, Juvenile delinquency -- Oregon -- Prevention, Power (Social sciences), Recidivism -- Oregon -- Prevention, Social control



Physical Description

1 online resource (xi, 251 pages)


Research on juvenile offender treatment and intervention has called for a shift from a deficits-based to a strengths-based approach (Marshall, Ward, Mann, Moulden, Fernandez, Serran, & Marshall, 2005; Wormith, Althouse, Simpson, Reitzel, Fagan, & Morgan, 2007; Zeldin, 2004). One potential approach to treatment fosters a sense of psychological empowerment in youth. Although research has yet to explore the experience of psychological empowerment within incarcerated youth, theory on empowerment suggests that it could help youth to create both cognitive (e.g., increased self-esteem, increased confidence) and behavioral (e.g., improving quality of life, social integration) changes in their lives (Cargo, Grams, Ottoson, Ward, & Green, 2003; Holden, Crankshaw, Nimsch, Hinnant, & Hund, 2004a). Empowerment-based programming may also help youth develop specific psychosocial capacities, such as competence, confidence, and self-efficacy, which are necessary skills for future success and community reintegration. The purpose of the current study was to establish a measure of psychological empowerment (PE) and explore potential behavioral correlates of PE for young men within Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) correctional and re-entry facilities. Using a cross-sectional, non-experimental design, quantitative data from self-report surveys of incarcerated youth on PE in three settings within correctional facilities as well as OYA staff ratings of behavioral success in five skill areas was collected. Confirmatory factor analyses did not support the three-factor structure of PE. A single-factor structure of Intrapersonal PE was found to fit the data in three correctional settings. The present study has implications for the reconceptualization and reoperationalization of psychological empowerment in this unique context. Using the confirmed sub-scale, results of hierarchical linear models indicated that Intrapersonal PE was a significant predictor of behavioral success in two of the five OYA domains. Even with an imperfect operationalization of PE, there was partial evidence for the predictive ability of Intrapersonal PE.


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