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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69704 Find in a Library
Title: Behavior Modification and the Treatment of Juvenile Delinquency - A Review and Proposal for Future Research
Journal: Corrective and Social Psychiatry and Journal of Behavior Technology Methods and Therapy  Volume:26  Issue:3  Dated:(July 1980)  Pages:98-106
Author(s): A M Gross; T A Brigham
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The use of behavior modification in the treatment of predelinquent and delinquent youth, both in institutional settings and in community-based treatment programs, is reviewed.
Abstract: In the programs and studies reviewed, the major focus is on (1) the use of token economies in institutions and in community group homes, (2) the use of contingency management techniques to treat predelinquent and delinquent youths who are living at home, and (3) negotiation and contracting training for delinquent children and their families. Token economies first proved successful in institutions. Youths earned tokens for displaying appropriate social, personal, recreational, vocational, and academic responses. However, these programs failed to obtain generalization and maintenance of behavioral changes when the youths reentered their natural environments. Therefore, a community-based approach in group homes was attempted in such programs as Achievement Place (in Kansas) and Welcome Home (in California). Contingency management is an extended form of a token economy. Social and material awards (other than tokens) are made contingent on appropriate behavior. While such programs were found to be particularly effective in group homes, they were also successful with youths who were living in their natural homes. One such program assigned volunteers to predelinquent and delinquent youths for the purpose of determining individual-specific reinforcers and contingencies. Other programs teach negotiation and contract skills, communications skills and the development of contracts. For those cases in which parents have failed to participate effectively in such programs, a new direction involves the teaching of behavior modifications to youths, who then attempt to shape their parents to attend to their appropriate responses and to discontinue critical statements. Names of researchers and dates of studies are included in the text, and 52 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Behavior modification; Behavioral science research; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Juvenile group houses; Juvenile status offenders; Juvenile treatment methods; Literature reviews; Motivation; Token economies
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