Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Criminal Justice

Advisor/Committee Chair

Dana Peterson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alan Lizotte, Ph.D.


This study seeks to understand the role that youths’ sense of personal security plays in their external engagement in deviant behavior. While there is some literature on the relationship between youth’s fear of crime or tumultuous home environments and their involvement in gangs and to some extent violence, it is scant, and studies of youths’ feelings of safety within residential facilities and their in-residence behaviors is virtually non-existent. Therefore, in this study of youth in two residential treatment centers, surveys administered to said youth are used to illustrate the potential link between youth’s perceived sense of personal security, how it evolves over time, and if it is consistent with deviant or antisocial behavior. It is hypothesized that youth’s perceived security increases with time in the institution and that security will be inversely correlated with negative behavioral incidents. Using statistical analyses, researchers identify the strength and consistency of these relationships and whether there is evidence to support changing the focus of residential programs to improve youth’s present mental and behavioral situations to increase likelihood of positive within and post treatment outcomes.