First Advisor

Eric Mankowski

Date of Publication

Fall 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Psychology, Teenage boys -- Psychology, Youth with social disabilities -- Counseling of, Adolescent psychology, Emotional problems of teenagers -- Treatment -- Social aspects, Positive psychology, Individual differences in adolescence



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 168 p.)


In recent decades, the use of strengths-based approaches has become increasingly popular in youth intervention and prevention programs (Maton et al., 2004), which emphasize creating emotionally safe environments through the process of relational community building (Maton, 2000). However, relatively little is known about the relationship between group composition, specifically similarity between group members, and emotional safety and program efficacy. This thesis examines the relationship between adolescent males' similarity to their peers in terms of their demographic profiles and behaviors and belief systems, experiences of emotional safety, and changing behaviors and belief systems in a strengths-based intervention program within Ohio juvenile correctional facilities. Results indicate that in the cases of education-related self-efficacy and the benefits associated with criminal activity, participants significantly changed in the direction opposite of the program's intentions. However, these negative changes were attenuated by differences between participants and their peers in the program. Theoretical implications and potential explanations are discussed.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Psychology.

Persistent Identifier