Date of Award

Summer 1989

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Studies

Committee Director

Mark Fravel

Committee Member

Robert H. MacDonald

Committee Member

Patrick Tow

Committee Member

Irwin Levinstein


The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the Sierra II program on adjudicated juvenile delinquents. Specifically, this research measured the program's effect on the self-esteem, self-efficacy, locus-of-control, problem-solving skills, school behavior, and follow-on academic achievement. All study variables, except school behavior and follow-on academic achievement, received pre and post treatment assessments. Both school behavior and academic achievement received pre, post, six-month and twelve-month follow-up assessments. Individuals were assigned (by the court services staff) to an experimental group and a control group.

The Tennessee Self-Concept Scale, modified Internal-External Scale, and the Generalized Expectancy of Success Scale were administered to both groups as a pre-test and post-test. The Means-Ends Problem-Solving Procedure was administered to the experimental group at the pre-test and post-test. Demographic, biographic, offense related, and school related data were collected on each study participant through use of Youth and School Data Forms.

Data were analyzed primarily through the use of an ANOVA with repeated measures. Where appropriate, Matched T-Tests were performed in order to ascertain significance between paired data samples. The variable, self-esteem, showed a significant increase over the assessment periods. The variable, self-empowerment (defined as union between locus-of-control and self-efficacy), showed a significant increase in the measure of locus-of-control, but did not show a statistically significant difference in self-efficacy. Therefore, this variable can only be partially supported. The results of the variable, problem-solving skills, showed a significant increase over the assessment periods. The results indicate that for the component variables related to school behavior and follow-on academic achievement, (negative comments, grade point average, absences/truancy, and discipline comments), only negative comments showed a significant change during the assessment periods. The research indicates that over time the Sierra II process was more effective in improving school behavior and grade point average, but that these changes did not meet study significance.

The findings of this research indicate that the Sierra II program had the theorized effect upon participants. However, further study should be undertaken to discriminate between the Sierra II components effecting behavior and achievement and those related to individual participant maturation.