Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Maria T. Riva, Ph.D.


Effectiveness, Goal setting, Group treatment, Incarcerated offenders


Incarcerated offenders represent a large proportion of the American population. Additionally, incarcerated offenders also have high rates of mental health disorders and psychological distress. Given that a significant number of incarcerated offenders also struggle with mental health concerns, providing effective treatment is crucial. However, the examination of outcome-based research has lagged considerably with this particularly vulnerable population. One notable aspect of an individual's adaptive and healthy functioning is the development and implementation of prosocial goals. Despite the well-developed literature base on the beneficial impacts of goal setting, the use of goal setting as a treatment intervention has been largely overlooked for this population. This study examined the impact of a goal setting intervention in group treatment on outcome measures of group cohesion, goal-directed thinking, and progress towards goal attainment. Further, trainees serving as group leaders were also included in this study. Trainees were provided training and orientation to facilitating a goal setting intervention in a group format. Data was included from five goal setting intervention groups. A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) design was used to analyze outcome measures including the Group Climate Questionnaire - Engagement Scale (GCQ) at three time points and the State Hope Scale (SHS) at four time points. Goal Questionnaires asking group members to rank the amount of progress they made towards two behavioral goals were also analyzed using a repeated measures ANOVA at three time points.

Further, Pearson r correlations were used to examine the relationship between group leader and group member agreement of group member's progress toward their goals. Group leaders completed the Group Leader Self-Efficacy Instrument (GLSI) at pre- and post-treatment. The results showed that group members reported making significant progress towards behavioral goals in a short amount of time and positive correlations between group leader and group member reports of progress were also established for certain intervention groups. Results showed statistically significant changes over time for both engagement in group processes (measured by the GCQ) and goal-directed thinking (measured by the SHS). The findings of this study offer exciting clinical implications and recommendations for working with incarcerated offenders with mental health concerns in a group treatment setting.

Publication Statement

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


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Marisa Kostiuk

File size

161 p.

File format





Counseling psychology, Criminology