The Effectiveness of Bibliotherapy in Teaching Problem Solving Skills to Female Juvenile Delinquents
Harbaugh, Janice Kuehl
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The problem. The problem of this study was to determine if bibliotherapy is an effective means of teaching specific problem solving skills to female juvenile delinquents. Specific problem solving skills under study were identification of problems, analysis of the emotional content of problems, analysis of the motivations of people involved in problems, and formulation of solutions to problems. Procedure. Twenty residents at Mitchellville Training School, Mitchellville, Iowa, were involved in the study. Ten were control subjects who read books from a Book List and wrote plot summaries of what they had read; ten were experimental subjects who read books from the same Book List and discussed them with the bibliotherapist. The book discussions followed a specific format and focused on an analysis of the four problem solving skills as they were presented in the books. A pretest and posttest were administered to each subject to determine whether subjects' problem solving skills had improved during the course of the four week experiment. Gain scores were computed, and the independent samples t test was used to test the significance of differences in mean gain scores between the two groups. Findings. The mean gain scores of the experimental group did significantly exceed the mean gain scores of the control group (.05 level) for the identification of problem skill. Conclusions. Bibliotherapy appears to be an efective means of teaching female juvenile delinquents to identify problems. Recommendations: Bibliotherapy, in a structured book discussion format, is recommended as an approach to helping female juvenile delinquents develop their abilities to identify problems and problem situations. It is also recommended that more study be done concerning ways to increase the effectiveness of bibliotherapy.
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