The effects of a structured group counseling program on the self-esteem of a sample of black juvenile delinquent males
This two-group, experimental study examined the effects of a twelve-session structured group counseling program on the self-esteem, as assessed by the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory, of black adjudicated delinquent males at the Arthur G. Murphy Youth Service Center, a nonresidential educational facility for delinquents in the Baltimore metropolitan area. One hypothesis was tested: The mean gain score (i.e., posttest minus pretest) on the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (CSEI) for the experimental group of students who completed the Structured Group Counseling Program would be significantly higher than that for a control group of students who received attention but did not participate in the program. The Structured Group Counseling Program was designed to assist black juvenile delinquent males in improving their self-esteem. This program entailed group discussions concerning relationships with peers, family, teachers, etc. It also utilized group discussions and recorded tape presentations from the "Teens to the Top" tape series (1982). Four professional speakers who provided information on juvenile crime, reading skills, mathematics and consumer skills, and job readiness training were also utilized. These presentations were augmented by cassette recordings entitled "Today's Greatest Adventure: Succeeding One Day at a Time" (1972) and "I Got the Job!" (1977), a role-playing exercise, a problem-solving exercise, short-story exercise, and questions that were designed to enhance program participants' self-esteem. A one-tailed t-test at the.05 level of significance was to have been utilized to analyze the mean gain score differences between the two groups. Because the experimental group subjects' mean CSEI pretest score was significantly higher than that of the control group (t = 2.33, p $\le$.05), a post-hoc analysis of covariance at the.05 level of significance was used to establish the significance of the gain scores while controlling for pretest differences (F = 99.55, p $\le$.05). It would appear that an uncontrolled intergroup rivalry confounded the study. Significantly higher gain scores for the experimental group and positive comments from students, parents, and the personnel at the Arthur G. Murphy Youth Service Center suggest that the Structured Group Counseling Program may be effective in improving the self-esteem of adjudicated black delinquent males, although more research is needed to confirm these indications.