Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Maria T. Riva, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Andi Pusavat

Third Advisor

Kathy Green

Fourth Advisor

Sarah Watamura


Goal setting, Group therapy


Goals guide and motivate behavior. An extensive amount of research has linked specific goal characteristics with improved performance and wellbeing (Fujita & MacGregor, 2012; Locke & Latham, 2002). In group psychotherapy, goals are often established at the onset of treatment and commonly not reviewed again until the end of treatment. This model does not teach goal-setting skills or provide feedback to guide goal pursuit. This study utilized a quasi-experimental design to assess the effects of a goal-setting intervention on group treatment outcomes of adolescents with a history of delinquent behaviors. The eight-week (12-session) intervention provided support in establishing goals consistent with the SMARTGOALS model and subsequent feedback on goal progress. Treatment outcomes, measured as change in level of distress from pre- to post-test and goal attainment ratings, were compared to a CBT-based treatment-as-usual condition, in which participants set goals but did not receive support in establishing SMARTGOALS or goal feedback during the course of the study. The results of this study showed a decrease in level of distress reported by participants in both conditions, with the goal-setting intervention not associated with greater reductions than treatment-as-usual. The goal-setting intervention did assist in the development of more behavioral and specific goals consistent with the SMARTGOALS model. While goal attainment ratings were similar on one of the goals set by participants in the two conditions, participants in the goal-setting condition had higher goal attainment ratings on the second goal. These findings show a goal-setting intervention, facilitated by group leaders who received brief training in this model, has some added benefit over treatment-as-usual.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Paul D. Grimsley


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

144 p.