Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Social Work

First Advisor

Kim Bender, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Michele Hanna

Third Advisor

Heather Taussig


Social work, Youth intervention, Youth development adventure-based intervention, Challenge By Choice


This dissertation explores the process and examines the outcomes of youth participating in a positive youth development adventure-based intervention Challenge By Choice (CBC) with outcomes of youth receiving treatment as usual in a residential and day treatment program. This dissertation aims to build on the growing body of literature on outcomes associated with PYD theoretical models and AET approaches. Specifically, the proposed dissertation asks: Is there a difference in externalizing behavioral outcomes for youth who participate in CBC as compared to peers of similar age/behavioral baseline who receive only treatment as usual?

To answer this research question, a mixed methods sequential design was used. First a qualitative inquiry into staffs’ perceptions of youth in the program, followed by a retrospective quasiexperimental quantitative study, ending with qualitative interviews to interpret and make sense of quantitative findings.

The results indicated there was not a significant difference in externalizing behavioral outcomes for youth the intervention group compared to the treatment as usual group. The qualitative strand helped to make sense of these results through highlighting that during the actual intervention, the youth in the intervention group appeared to make progress with increased skills and decreased behaviors but that any perceived positive impact was not sustained or supported by the quantitative results. The qualitative results revealed 3 themes that helped to frame the perceived impact of the intervention and, one key theme related to barriers to sustained changes revealed possible explanations for the increase in externalizing behaviors post the intervention.

Publication Statement

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

Rights Holder

Rebecca Durbahn


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

126 p.


Social work

Included in

Social Work Commons