Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Social Work

Major Professor

Mary I. Armstrong

Co-Major Professor

Lisa A. Rapp


anger, girls, group treatment, trauma


Female adolescents are increasingly being charged with crimes of violence, and the literature is lacking as to how best to reduce their aggressive tendencies. In the past, girls represented a small portion of all youths involved in criminal justice systems, and studies involving effective treatment options for them were rarely conducted.

Aggression Replacement Training® is a 10-week, evidence-based, group treatment intervention designed to advance moral reasoning, improve social skills, and manage angry feelings. Numerous outcome studies of Aggression Replacement Training® with both offending and non-offending male adolescents and with male and female adolescents together have yielded mixed results. The question remains whether or not positive results can be obtained when Aggression Replacement Training® is provided to only female adolescents in a group setting.

This quasi-experimental study examined if there were significant decreases in aggressive tendencies and increases in pro-social behaviors among female juvenile offenders in a residential commitment program in the state of Florida who participated in an Aggression Replacement Training® group intervention versus those who did not participate. Due to the exceptionally high degree of exposure to traumatic life events commonly reported by this population, this study also hoped to ascertain whether or not the level of traumatic distress mattered as to the efficacy of the intervention for the girls who participated.

The results of repeated measures 2 X 2 (time X group) ANOVA tests indicated no significant mean differences in rule-breaking or aggressive behaviors pre- to posttest between the 30 experimental and 30 comparison group members in this quasi-experimental study, although only a large anticipated effect could have been observed with a sample this size. The degree of trauma (covariate), also, had no significant impact on intervention efficacy for those girls who participated in the Aggression Replacement Training® group treatment. Mean negative behaviors were reduced for all study participants during the 12-week study time frame while in the commitment program, however, and both groups exhibited a mean increase in positive behaviors. Additional studies with larger samples may reveal a clearer picture of the benefits this intervention may provide to girls in juvenile justice commitment settings.

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Social Work Commons