Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Jose Castillo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Deirdre Cobb-Roberts, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.


diversion program, juvenile delinquency, positive youth development, resiliency


The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is developing programs targeting first-time nonviolent offenders who might benefit from community-based treatment and positive youth development to prevent these individuals from becoming adult criminals. Thus, the DJJ seeks new and innovative ways to prevent juvenile delinquency and reduce recidivism among first-time nonviolent offenders. The present study aimed to evaluate the Hope 4 Boys program, a juvenile diversion program that addresses the academic and social-emotional needs of juvenile delinquents. The study examined how participation in the program is associated with changes in participants’ levels of hope for the future, life satisfaction, and resiliency during seven weeks. A mixed-methods study was utilized because it allowed for quantitative and qualitative data to be collected from youth who participated in the program. The mixed-methods study included 22 participants who completed the Children’s Hope Scale (CHS), the Student Life Satisfaction Scale (SLSS), and the Youth Risk and Resilience Inventory (YRRI) at pre-intervention and post-intervention. Eight out of 22 participants completed qualitative interviews. Findings from paired sample t-tests indicated that youth participating in the Hope 4 Boys program experienced significant increases in hope, life satisfaction, and resilience scores from pre-intervention to post-intervention. Correlational analyses indicated no significant relationship between a youth’s risk factors and their changes in hope, life satisfaction, and resiliency scores over time. However, results showed a moderate and positive relationship between participants’ life satisfaction and hope for the future; and a moderate and positive relationship between youth resiliency and hope for the future. In addition, the thematic analysis of the qualitative interviews indicated that youth believed the program impacted them positively by providing them with mentorship, academic support, opportunity to build new friendships, an escape from home, extracurricular activities, and the skills to become a G.R.O.W.N. man. The evaluation study findings support the continuous implementation of the Hope 4 Boys program to improve positive youth development for youth involved with the juvenile justice department. Implications for research and practice are discussed.