With connection, less correction: Gender-specific needs of girls’ residential group climate: A mixed method non-randomized case-study

J. Sonderman*, C. H. Z. Kuiper, G. H. P. van der Helm, Dike van de Mheen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Background
A need-supportive group climate is a prerequisite for successful treatment in secure residential youth care. For girls, positive relationships with peers are an essential part of the group climate. Relational aggression threatens the residential group climate.

Objectives
This study explored whether a group counseling program can actively promote the quality of the interrelationships between girls in a residential group in the Netherlands; the aim is to elucidate how residential group climate affects treatment results. The girls in this single-gender residential group had been admitted because of (suspicions of) commercial sexual exploitation.

Method
The study combined participatory observations with a case-based time-series design. For 18 weeks, changes in the residential group climate and the interrelationships between the girls and achievement of treatment goals over time were measured.

Results
The residential group climate in this group was negative initially; much relational aggression between girls was found. Considering treatment, some girls were making significant progress, but others mainly deteriorated. Moderate improvement of residential group climate was visible after a group social worker was permanently present.

Conclusions
A group counseling program aimed at improving interrelationships cannot cure an overall negative residential group climate. This article offers implications for preventing and recognizing deterioration of residential group climate and improving girls' residential group climate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-494
JournalChild & Youth Care Forum
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • ADOLESCENT GIRLS
  • BEHAVIOR
  • CHILD
  • Girls
  • Group Counseling
  • INDIRECT AGGRESSION
  • LIVING GROUP CLIMATE
  • Mixed methods
  • OUTCOMES
  • Relational aggression
  • SOCIAL CLIMATE
  • Secure residential youth care
  • TRAUMA-RELATED SYMPTOMS
  • TREATMENT MOTIVATION
  • Treatment
  • YOUTH CARE

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