Program

Sep 12, 2008

OVERVIEW

Equipping Youth to Help One Another (EQUIP) is a
multi-faceted program for juvenile delinquents and other youth with anti-social
conduct disorders. The program uses guided group interactions to
cultivate a climate for change and teach youth social skills, anger management,
and moral reasoning. In an evaluation of the program, 57 boys between the
ages of 15 and 18 who were recently committed to a juvenile corrections
facility were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 1) The experimental
EQUIP treatment group, 2) the motivational control group, or 3) the simple
control group. Results indicated that participants in the EQUIP group experienced
significant decreases in self- and staff-reported institutional misconduct as
well as gains in social skills, whereas participants in either control group
did not. There were no differences between groups in regards to changes
in moral judgment.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Juvenile delinquents and
youth with antisocial conduct disorders between the ages of 12 and 17

Equipping Youth to Help One Another (EQUIP) is a
multi-component program aimed at teaching social skills, anger management, and
moral reasoning to children with conduct disorders. EQUIP uses two
techniques, guided group interactions and skills training sessions, to foster
these positive behaviors and coping techniques within the children.

The guided group interactions are adult-led, but youth-run,
small group treatment sessions derived from the Positive Peer Culture (PPC)
program which employs components from Aggression Replacement Training
(ART). The sessions work to foster a climate for change where individuals
reduce their use of anti-social and self-destructive behaviors and instead
utilize behaviors that help others and themselves. During meetings, each
group member discusses re-occurring problems, and individuals are rewarded for
especially insightful observations.

EQUIP supplements the guided group interactions with skills
training sessions that focus on social skills, anger management, and moral
education. These social skills training sessions use modeling, imitation,
feedback, and practice procedures to foster positive interpersonal
interactions. The anger management component encourages
cognitive-behavioral development in relevant areas such as self-monitoring of
emotions and thoughts, thinking ahead, and self-evaluation. Finally, the moral
education component focuses on developmental delays the children might
have. Through group discussions, adults aid children in catching-up to
other children their age in regards to moral reasoning.

Groups typically consist of eight to ten adolescents and one
adult. Each session lasts between 1 and 1.5 hours, and groups typically
meet five days a week.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Leeman, L.W., Gibbs, J.C., & Fuller, D. (1993).Evaluation of a multi-component group treatment program for
juvenile delinquents. Aggressive Behavior, 19,281-292.

Evaluated population: 57 adolescents between
the ages of 15 and 18 residing in a medium-security correctional facility in
the Midwest served as the sample for this
evaluation. Sixty-seven percent of the participants were Caucasian, 31%
were African-American, and 2% were Hispanic.

Approach: Participants were randomly assigned
to one of the following three groups: 1) The experimental EQUIP treatment
group, 2) the motivational control group, or 3) the simple control group.
All participants were then given a series of measures collecting information on
the following variables: pre-incarceration archival data on felony level
offenses, self-reported pre-incarceration and institutional misconduct, moral
judgment, and social skills.

Participants receiving the EQUIP treatment met for group
sessions daily during weekdays for between 1 and 1.5 hours. Participants
in the motivational control group received a five minute motivational session
immediately following completion of the pre-testing. The motivational
script urged participants to help out other inmates and described the benefits
of engaging in these behaviors. Finally, participants in the simple
control group did not receive any treatments or interventions.

The institutional misconduct questionnaire was administered
again during the second month of incarceration. Additionally,
post-testing occurred seven days prior to a participant’s
release from the detention facility or, for those who had one year sentences,
during the sixth month of incarceration. During the post-test,
participants again were measured for institutional misconduct, moral judgment,
and social skills.

Results: Results indicated that participants
receiving the EQUIP intervention had significantly greater decreases in self-
and staff-reported misconduct and unexcused absences from school compared with
participants in the control groups. Furthermore, participants in the
EQUIP group were significantly less likely to recidivate than members of the
control groups within twelve months of release. Additionally,
participants in the EQUIP experienced significant gains in social skills,
whereas participants in either control group did not. There were no
differences between groups with regard to changes in moral judgment.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Information on implementing this program can be obtained from:

Dr. John C. Gibbs

Professor of Psychology

The Ohio State University

237 Psychology Building

1835 Neil Avenue Mall

Columbus, OH 43210

Phone: (614) 292-7918

E-mail: gibbs.1@osu.edu

References:

Leeman, L.W., Gibbs, J.C., & Fuller, D. (1993). Evaluation of a multi-component group treatment program for juvenile
delinquents. Aggressive Behavior, 19,281-292.

KEYWORDS: Adolescence (12-17), Youth (16+), High-Risk,
Juvenile Offenders, Gender-specific (male only), White or Caucasian, Black or
African American, Hispanic or Latino, Clinic-based, Life Skills Training,
Mentoring, Tutoring, Behavioral Problems, Conduct Disorder, Aggression,
Delinquency, Social/Emotional Health

Program information last updated on
9/12/08.