- No guts, no gains! The relation between living group climate and social development of juvenile delinquents in detention
G.H.P. van der Helm
- Award date
- 29 January 2016
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
One of the main goals of imprisonment of juvenile offenders is treatment and rehabilitation into the social world. Youth detention is living with strict rules and regulations and can negatively affect juvenile’s behavior. Today, there is abundant knowledge on the effects of individual treatment of juvenile offenders, but in particular, the influences of the ‘social-together’ on the development and behavior of inmates needs further examination. Young prison inmates are not able to escape from the compulsory environment they have to share with others, but if the environment is positive they may also develop in a pro-social way.
Research on group dynamics in secure forensic settings point to the key role of the social environment and the role group workers and staff play in establishing an open living group climate to provide effective treatment. Providing an open and positive living group climate should be a main requirement for group workers and prison staff in all juvenile justice facilities.
The present dissertation investigates whether there is a relation between a therapeutic living group climate and juveniles’ social development (including deficits in social development) in terms of empathy, aggression, CU-traits and dealing with complex social situations. Results show that it is important to keep on working on the improvement of group workers’ understanding of a positive living group climate. Without "GUTS" like the improvement of living group climate, there will be no "GAINS" or progress, in terms of positive and social behavior and recidivism reduction in juvenile offenders.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam