First Advisor

Junghee Lee

Date of Publication

Fall 11-18-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research


Social Work and Social Research




Adolescent psychotherapy -- Residential treatment



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 117 pages)


Residential placement is considered the most severe sanction for adjudicated youth, yet there is little consensus on best practices and interventions in residential settings. Demographic trends in the juvenile justice system further exacerbate challenges in studying residential placements. Disparities among minority youth, diverging state definitions of juvenile sex offenses, discrepancies in recidivism measures, and variations in local and state juvenile courts have contributed to a convoluted system that has struggled to identify the meaning of "success" in residential settings.

Building on theories of engagement in residential care and program theory of change, this mixed methods study explores how various components of a residential program for adjudicated young males contribute to time in the program leading up to transition out of the program. Event history analysis was used to examine administrative program data. Then, follow-up interviews were conducted with program employees to gather further insight to supplement quantitative findings.

Findings indicated that juvenile sex offenses and home visits played a significant role. Additionally, race, ethnicity, and duration and engagement in family, individual, and group sessions also played varying roles in youths' transition out of the program. Findings from the employee interviews further supported that race, ethnicity, culture, and family are all critical parts of residential treatment. The interviews also discussed the role that Collaborative and Proactive Solutions, a behavioral modification approach used in this program, plays in youths' overall engagement during their time in the program.


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