Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




On the basis of previous theorizing and empirical research, it seems that the self-concept may be a highly relevant factor in the understanding and containment of delinquent behavior. However, as Rubin (1970) has noted, there remains some doubt as to the effectiveness of existing treatment programs in promoting a change in the delinquent's self-concept structure which will be lasting and lead to a more adaptive response to the normal social environment. Therefore the present investigation proposes to show that there exist fundamental differences between the self-concepts of delinquents, both institutionalized and noiv-institutionalized, and non-delinquents. These differences can then be assumed to be characteristic of the delinquent's self-concept. The study further proposes to show that differences in self-concept which are found to be associated with delinquency are not a function of institutional status, although institutionalization may have some effect on those areas of the self-concept found to be irrelevant to delinquency orientation.

The Tennessee Self Concept Scale was administered to three groups Delinquents confined to a state training school; probationers of the juvenile court; and enrollees of the Neighborhood Youth Corps program. The results of the 55 tests were converted to standard scores and analyzed using the analysis of variance and _t tests. Nineteen scales of the TSCS were examined.

The results appear to indicate that no significant differences exist among the three groups in terms of their self-concepts. Since the first hypothesis was not supported, it was not possible to provide an adequate test of the second hypothesis. Therefore, on the basis of the present investigation, it would seem that other indices, such as identification with the delinquent subculture, may be better predictors of delinquent behavior than is level of self-evaluation.