Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Bruce S. Zahn, Ed.D, ABPP, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Virginia Burks Salzer, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mark Salzer, Ph.D.


Female juvenile delinquents have a high incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Residential treatment programs for female juvenile offenders typically lack gender-specific programming and empirically supported treatment protocols. This study attempted to examine the effectiveness of the Alternative Rehabilitation Communities, Inc., Group Therapy Program for Female Juvenile Delinquents with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Alternative Rehabilitation Community, 2004). This manual-based treatment program was conducted in 5 residential treatment agencies in Pennsylvania. Two comparable agencies served as comparison sites. Data was obtained from a larger study performed by the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development Division of Planning and Evaluation, which had received a grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to conduct process and outcomes research on this program. It was hypothesized that the treatment program would significantly reduce PTSD symptoms, increase prosocial behaviors, decrease antisocial cognitions, and improve outlook toward the future of participants in the treatment group, and that treatment satisfaction would be related to participants' outcomes on the dependent measures. However, only 10 participants (5 from treatment sites and 5 from comparison sites) completed posttests and essential data was missing from their assessments. Consequently, conclusions could not be drawn, apart from preliminary evidence that the females who participated in ARC PTSD Groups perceived that they benefited from them in terms of managing their PTSD symptoms and regulating their emotions. A postmortem follow-up showed that 96 females actually completed treatment groups, but that data was not collected on 91 of them for reasons described herein. The discussion outlines and offers solutions to problems in conducting research with this challenging population.