Investigating group processes in a positive youth development program for multi -problem youth

Arlen Judith Garcia, Florida International University


This study investigated group processes as potential mediators or moderators of positive development outcome and negative reduction intervention response by evaluating the utility of a group measure modified from a widely known measure of group impact found in the group therapy research literature. Four group processes were of primary interest, (1) Group Impact; (2) Facilitator Impact; (3) Skills Impact; and (4) Exploration Impact as assessed by the Session Evaluation Form (SEF). Outcome measures included the Personally Expressive Activities Questionnaire (PEAQ), Erikson Psycho-Social Index (EPSI) and the Zill Behavior Items, Behavior Problem Index (ZBI (BPI)). The sample consisted of 121 multi-ethnic participants drawn from four alternative high schools from the Miami-Dade County Public School system. Utilizing a Latent Growth Curve Modeling approach with Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) statistics, preliminary analyses were conducted to evaluate the psychometric properties of the SEF and its role in the mediation or moderation of intervention outcome. Preliminary results revealed evidence of a single higher order factor representing a "General" global reaction, which was hypothesized to be a "Positive Group Climate" construct to the program as opposed to the four distinct group processes that were initially hypothesized to affect outcomes. The results of the evaluation of the mediation or moderation role of intervention outcome of the single "General" global latent factor ("Positive Group Climate" construct) did not significantly predict treatment response on any of the outcome variables. Nevertheless, the evidence of an underlying "General" global latent factor ("Positive Group Climate" construct) has important future directions for research on positive youth development programs as well as in group therapy research.

Subject Area

Social work|School counseling|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Garcia, Arlen Judith, "Investigating group processes in a positive youth development program for multi -problem youth" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3298584.