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IDENTIFYING HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMEN WITH SERIOUS ATYPICAL BEHAVIOR AND MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS FOR DELINQUENCY PREVENTION PURPOSES.

The typical youth enters high school in the United States at the beginning of adolescence (14 years of age), and their high school years are characterized by change and the search for personal identity. The often stated goal of our high schools is to build a bridge for all of our youth between the home and the work place or college. For the more than two million prison inmates in the United States today our high schools have failed to build such an effective bridge and we have lost the services of those individuals for a desperately needed work force. It should be remembered that student failure, even if only one is involved, must always be associated with teacher failure (Cassel, 2000), In California and Wisconsin, for examples, more than 80 percent of those prison inmates are presently addicted to the excessive use of alcohol or drugs, and when they complete their present sentence 65 percent tend to return to prison again and again (Cassel, 1990).

Third Force Psychology

Under the new Third Force Psychology (Humanistic Psychology), only old since the 1960s, the prison population can only be reduced through a "student-centered" high schools approach, and where the health and welfare of such students is considered to be basic to effective school achievement in subject matter areas (Cassel & Reiger, 2000). Even more important, serious atypical behavior during adolescent years prevents successful school achievement, and serves as the basis for later delinquency and crime. At Pleasantville High School in New Jersey this school year it was decided to identify entering freshmen with statistically significant atypical dynamics as depicted by two psychological tests designed for such purposes. In general the plan was to use scores on the two different tests, one dealing with behavior and the other with mental health, for purposes of identifying persons whose scores departed significantly from a national norm--maybe one and half or two standard deviations from such national norm mean.

Democratic Maturity

The first test administered Pleasantville freshmen was The Democratic Maturity Test (DEMO) (Cassel, Chow, Demoulin, and Rager, 2000). The eight part scores serve as the basis for identifying individuals at serious odds to that of the norm group: (1) Self-Esteem, (2) Coping Skills, (3) Assertiveness, (4) Locus of Control-Decision Making, (5) Conformity, (6) Sympathy, (7) Self-efficacy-Expectations, and (8) Caring. Any one or more of the eight scores that are significantly below average for the norm group suggest an atypical ego not sensitive to the expectations in that area in relation to others, and the potential of being an atypical individual. A typical DEMO case profile is displayed in Figure 1.

[Figure 1 ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This test was administered to 100 of the 126 incoming freshmen at Pleasantville High during the first week of school, but only 73 students completed the test successfully. Only two of the eight part score for the Pleasantville 73 students departed significantly from the national norm: (1) Much higher on Self Esteem, and (2) Much lower on Locus of Control-Decision Making.

Gender Differences

A t-Statistic was computed between the mean DEMO 8 part scores for male and female students with the following general findings:

1. No statistical significant difference in age between male and female freshmen.

2. Only one of the eight DEMO part scores showed a significant difference at the 0.011 level of confidence--Self-efficacy - female score=57 & male score=50. Females showing greater personal expectations in life than males.

3. The SOCINT score showed a significant difference at 0.034 level of confidence--male=225, and females =240--females tend to get along much better with other individuals than the males.

4. The DEMTOT scores showed a statistically significant difference of 0.040 - males = 478, and females = 508 - females better prepared for success in a democracy than males.

Higher Democratic Maturity Scores

The Total Score (DEMTOT) on the DEMO test was ranked from low to high for individuals involved at Pleasantville High School:

1. Only four of the 73 DEMO scores were in 600 or greater range-three were for female students, and only one was for a male student-females students show greater democratic maturity than males.

2. Of the top students with a DEMTOT score of 600 or better, all SOCINT scores exceeded 300; while PERMAT Scores were all less than 283 - The higher scoring freshmen on the DEMO test tend to get along better with others (SOCINT), than the preparation for successful life in a democracy score (PERMAT)

Lower Democratic Maturity Scores

Observations concerning the 10 lowest DEMO Total Score (DEMTOT) for the 73 Pleasantville High School freshmen:

1. Nine of the 10 lowest DEMTOT scores were for males; only one female.

2. Only eight of the 73 DEMO Total Scores (DEMTOT) were less than 400 -- all of the 73 freshmen students had good democratic maturity tests cores.

3. Only two of the 73 students with the lowest DEMTOT score had PERMAT scores of 200 or greater, and similarly SOCINT scores of 200 or greater-students with low DEMTOT scores were not superior in terms of getting along with people-(SOCINT).

Cognitive Dissonance (Hurts Deep in Unconsicous)

The second test administered to Pleasantville freshmen was The Cognitive Dissonance Test (DISS) (Cassel, Chow, DeMoulin, and Rager, 2000). The eight part scores on DISS serve as the basis for identifying individuals with the potential for mental health problems: (1) Home & Family, (2) Inner Development, (3) Personal Adjustment, (4) Health and Well-Bing, (5) School & Learning, (6) Social & Affiliation, (7) Survival & Power, and (8) Life Pursuits. People with DISS scores that are significantly above average for corresponding others suggest they are atypical in relation to such scores. A typical such case is depicted in Figure 2.

[Figure 2 ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This was the second test administered to 100 of the 126 incoming freshmen at Pleasantville High School, but only 75 students completed the DISS test successfully. Only one of the eight part DISS scores showed a statistically significant difference from the DISS national norm group-Health & Well-being. Pleasantville High School=46 and National Norm=42 -- Pleasantville High students showed lower "Health and Well-Being".

Gender Differences

1. Only one of the four Inner and Personal (IPTOT) DISS scores, showed a statistically significant difference at the 0.027 level between male and female students- the Inner Development Score (INN) -- male INN score = 43, and female INN Score = 35 -- females showing less cognitive dissonance.

2. Three of the External and Impersonal (EITOT) DISS scores showed statistical difference between males and females:

a. School & Learning (SCH) 0.018 -- males=43, & females=34-females showed less cognitive dissonance.

b. Socialization (SOC) 0.0.005 -- males = 46, & females = 36 -- females showed less cognitive dissonance.

c. Survival (SUR) 0.044 -- males = 50, & females = 41 -- females showing less cognitive dissonance.

Highest 10 DISTOT Scores

1. Of the ten highest DISTOT Scores on the DISS test, all were above 438 - a great deal of dissonance present.

2. For the ten highest DISS total score, all External and Impersonal Scores were greater than 190, and Internal & Personal Scores were greater than 200--there tends to be greater cognitive dissonance for internal and personal areas of life.

Lowest 10 DISTOT Scores

1. Seven of the 10 lowest DISTOT scores were below 200 -- very little cognitive dissonance present.

2. Seven of the 10 External and Impersonal Scores were greater than 190; while five of the 10 Internal and Perosonal Scores were greater than 200 -- more cognitive dissonance present for the internal and personal areas of life.

3. There were an equal number of male and female students in the low DISTOT group--No gender difference for Pleasantville High students in the low DISTOT score group.

Best Atypical Student Indicators

The two tests administered to the Pleasantville High School freshmen required approximately one hour of time, or a little more time to complete for the average 9th grade reader. The degree to which they accomplished that assignment proved to be a greater predictor of being atypical than scores on either of those tests. Maybe even better predictor of later delinquency and crime, or even alcohol and drug addiction.

1. The "LIE" score on each of the two tests consists of 21 pairs of items of which half are directly opposite, and the other half include varying degree of incompatibility. A LIE score of 15 or better suggests that the test taker did not read the items, or simply put marks for an answer.

1. Five of the 100 DEMO scores had a LIE score of 16 or better-suggesting that test data had little or no value-test not carefully read.

2. Four of the 100 tests administered showed that all marks were completely negative throughout the test, and test was discarded-defiance of student.

3. Eight of the 100 tests administered were not completed properly by the Pleasantville Freshmen, many had two answers for one answer questions, other were not completed and were in various stages of completion- some students not able to follow simple instructions, some may have a reading problem, others may have a sight problem and need glasses, etc.

Extracurricular Activities

The 32nd Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll (Rose, 2000; and Rose & Gallup, 2000) shows that parents want their children to receive a balanced education, one that goes well beyond the basics, and one in which extracurricular activities are equal in importance to academic subjects. If our high school are interested in reducing the prison population in the nation, the use of sports involvement for all increase the importance of honesty and fair play, team work, and trustworthiness which are the best way to reduce the prison population of our nation. It is clear that competitive sports forge a wholesome ego-ideal in individuals that serves as a sound basis for delinquency and crime prevention, and must become a requirement for high school graduation if the number of inmates in our prisons is to be reduced a mite (Cassel, 1986, and Cassel, 1999).

Freshmen & Extracurricular Activities

All Pleasantville freshmen taking the DEMO test were asked to indicate their desire to participate in sports, band, or clubs.

1. There were 53 of the 75 freshmen taking the DEMO test that expressed a desire to participate in sports

2. Eleven indicated a strong desire to participate in other types of clubs.

Freshmen and Musical Activities or Art

Because music, band, art, and aesthetics serve as the best means to deal with mental health problems, and which is often the basis for individuals turning to alcohol and drug addiction, and which characterizes 80 percent of prison inmates in the United States.

1. Eight of the 75 students expressed a desire to participate in Band.

Single Parent Homes

Recent research suggests that the single parent home is often better that a double parent home where there is daily bickering and discontent present. The Pleasantville freshment indicate that 28 of the 75 freshmen tested came from a single parent home. Of those 28 single parent homes, 4 lived with father, 3 with grandparents, and 21 with the mother. In general scores on the cognitive dissonance show that freshmen students this year at Pleasantville High School come from homes that provide a good an wholesome environment, and this includes the single parent homes.

References

Cassel, R.N. (1986). Forging an ego-ideal as an extension to one's ego-status. Psychology, 23(1), 30-35.

Cassel, R.N. (1990). The quest for identity, drug abuse, and identity crisis. Instructional Psychology, XVII(3), 155-158.

Cassel, R.N. (1999). Autogenic feedback training as a cognitive neuroscience to develop volountary control in relation to health care. Psychology, 36(2&4), 26-32.

Cassel, R.N. (2000). Student failure must always be associated with teacher failure. Instructional Psychology, 27(2), 110-111.

Cassel, R.N., Chow, P., DeMoulin, D.F., and Raeger, R. (2000a). The Democratic Maturity Test (DEMO) Chula Vista, California: Project Innovation.

Cassel, R.N., Chow, P., DeMoulin, D., and Reiger, R. (2000b). The Cognitive Dissonance Test (DISS). Chula Vista, California: Project Innovation.

Cassel, R.N., Reiger, R.C. (2000). The new Third Force Psychology promises to reduce the growing prison population through student-centered high schools. Education, 121(1), 34.37.

Rose, L.C. (2000). Pay attention to the public. Phi Delta Kappan, 82(1), p 2.

Rose, L.C., and Gallup, A.M. (2000). The 32nd Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes toward the public schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 82(1), 41-66.

DRS. RUSSELL N. CASSELL PETER CHOW DONALD F. DEMOULIN ROBERT C. REIGER Team Consultants on Student-Centered High School 1362 Santa Cruz Court, Chula Vista, California 91910-7114
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Title Annotation:Third Force Psychology
Author:CASSEL, RUSSELL N.; CHOW, PETER; DEMOULIN, DONALD F.; REIGER, ROBERT C.
Publication:Education
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2000
Words:2077
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