1 BEHAVIORAL EVALUATION OF A JUVENILE TREATMENT CENTER: CASE STUDY OF A PLANNING METHODOLOGY (1) 3.3 Robert R. Hahn, Environmental Planner Harold Lewis Malt Associates, Washing'ton, D. C. Abstract A methodological perspective is suggested for understanding the relationship between self-regulating and non-infringing behavior and the physical settings in which these behaviors occur in a juvenile treatment center. The proposed method of study relies upon the convergent application of "behavior mapping," behavioral rating, and interview techniques. Individual settings within the center were found to have a marked predominance and scarcity of these behavior dimensions. Similarly, within some settings, there was a lack of "fit" between the staff's perceptions of the frequency of these behaviors and the observed results. The influence of the physical characteristics of each setting upon the two behaviors is discussed. The approach is stressed as having future meaning for the study not only of a juvenile treatment center but for the planning, design, and improvement of other programs as well. Introduction Planners and designers are slowly coming to realize the need for integrating into the evaluation phase of their work a more expressive set of behavioral requirements. This research study suggests a method for attempting to overcome some of the inherent problems associated with uncovering those hidden behavioral patterns, often ignored when evaluating the context of certain physical settings: defining meaningful goals; conceptualizing the physical setting; and deciding upon appropriate measurement devices. While there are admittedly restrictions on the theoretical generalizations derived from this effort, we can contribute to our knowledge of planning as it relates to the individual-- the need, as F. Stuart Chapin indicates, for analyzing those very behaviors that should be the basis for the kinds of resources planned for. Defining individual treatment in a juvenile correctional center, is an example of such an attempt to understand in greater detail the "person moving within his daily round" and is an attempt to heed Chapin's advice to refine our planning predictors at the microlevel. (2) Description of the Research Setting: Hypothesis for Study Buckeye Boys Ranch, Incorporated, is a privately operated nonsectarian, inter- 138
2 3. HUMAN RESPONSES TO THE ENVIRONMENT I 139 racial, residential treatment and rehabilitation center for delinquent boys, between the ages of 12 to 16 years, with serious social and emotional problems. Located on 80 acres of farm land near Grove City, Ohio in southwestern Franklin County, the property today reaches a paid value of over $500,000. Founded in 1950, by the Women's Juvenile Service Board, the Ranch receives its leadership from a board of trustees composed of business, professional, and civic leaders. This board, along with the Executive Director, and professionals in psychiatry, psychology, sociology, social work, and education, formulate policy and evaluate the program. The program's emphasis on offering the boy a high degree of individual and personalized treatment is reflected in the two self-contained rustically-designed ranch houses. Perhaps the most influential factor in the physical environment of the Buckeye Boy's Ranch is the plan of the individual ranch houses themselves. At present, the two ranch houses, Argo House and Hislop House, with their emphasis on small group living units, handle 26 boys. Both houses are dominated by a large living-dining area. The glass windows in this setting offer a tranquil view on to the rustic setting of the ranch. Administrative and secretarial space is located in Argo House. This space is divided amongst the director's office, psychologist's office, social worker's office, assistant director's office, and a staff lounge. Argo House contains indoor recreation facilities (ie., ping pong table, pool tables) in the basement. Kitchen facilities along with sleeping arrangements are designed to accommodate 12 youth. These living arrangements include two double bedrooms and two 4-bed dorm rooms along with a common bathroom area in the hall. Hislop House, on the other hand, is less "rustic" in appearance and approximates the typical "ranch burger" found in a middle-income residential subdivision. This house, in addition to containing its own kitchen and dining facilities, accommodates a "live-in" house couple. This apartment unit, off to the left of the entrance, has its own living room, kitchen, dining room and personal bathroom facilities. Hislop House also contains living and sleeping arrangements to accommodate 12 youth. This space is divided among two 4-bed dorms and four single bedrooms. In addition, this residence contains the campus school, off a wing in. the basement, which consists of 3 classrooms, a library, teacher's office and lounge. A music room and arts and crafts area is located off the main basement which serves also as an area for indoor recreation. The personnel at Buckeye Boys Ranch number between staff members, some of whom are on a part-time basis. In addition to the Executive Director, whose position is primarily administrative, the professional staff is made up of the following group of clinicians: director of treatment services; a psychiatrist responsible for reviewing the quality of the treatment and conducting psychiatric therapy; a ~sychologist who provides psychological evaluations and conducts individual and group treatment; a chaplain; a social worker who works with the youth and families and assists in the treatment of youth; and 3 special education teachers in charge of developing the educational program. The professional staff is supplemented by a body of child care personnel who include house parent couples, who supervise and conduct activities with the boys; a vocational counselor, who assists the boys in developing occupational and work
3 140 I ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN RESEARCH, VOL. 1 skills; and night attendants, who are usually undergraduate college students with a background and interest in psychology and in the treatment of delinquent youth. Lastly, additional staff needed to provide the optimal level of services at the ranch include: secretarial staff and maintenance personnel. Residential care at Buckeye Boys Ranch is coordinated with other services to the boy and his family. Accordingly, the therapeut'ically directed living experience is combined with individual and group therapy, family therapy, remedial and specialized education, medical care, and occupational work experience. The thrust of such treatment efforts is to return each youth to his own home, foster home, or perhaps a group home so each boy can learn more effective ways to resolve conflict. To learn more about the treatment philosophy and the goals of the program, interviews were conducted with members of the professional staff. The results of these interviews were put in summary form. The range of responses varied slightly, as there was a high degree of consensus on the goals of the system. While the long range treatment goal is one that encourages the youth to have the capacity to function, upon leaving the ranch, with as wide a degree of flexibility as possible, the following goals were cited as key facets of the treatment philosophy operating at Buckeye Boys Ranch: 1. Provide a milieu that encourages and develops the youth's f eling of worth. 2. Allow the youth the opportunity to improve 'his ability to test his decisionmaking powers commensurate with the norm for his age and level of maturity. 3. Encourage and teach the youth to learn to deal with stress so that the manner in which he resolves conflict doesn't infringe on others. 4. Encourage the youth to develop an increased self-awareness of himself and understanding of others so he can develop into a non-infringing person who respects and effectively relates to others. 5. Encourage the staff to develop, grow, and be sensitive to the youth's development. 6. Encourage the boy to assume responsibility for himself and accept the consequences of his behavior, so he can be self-sufficient and in charge of his life and not dependent on others for making decisions. While I was interested in learning about the general treatment philosophy at the ranch, I was primarily interested in focusing on a series of treatment goals in reference to "ideal" behavior. That is, I was interested in having the staff define a series of goals that illustrated "successful" or "good" behavior on the part of the youth, as these would provide us with a set of indices that would reflect progress toward the previously defined treatment goals. Recognizing that the identified goals could be modified by the organization (ie., the staff learning to live with the constraints upon their treatment philosophy), goals were secured with the intention of being asked, "under the best condition" or the "most ideal situation," so as to resolve this organizational modification. The following two behaviors were overwhelmingly cited by the members of the professional staff as being the two key behaviors underlying the treatment philosophy at the ranch: self-regulating behavior and non-infringing behavior.
4 3. HUMAN RESPONSES TO THE ENVIRONMENT / 141 Self-regulating behavior refers to g~v~ng the youth the opportunity to learn to make his own decisions; evaluate them; and anticipate the consequences of his actions. Providing the youth with both the autonomy to make his decisions and the presence of a pool of varied staff members who could give the immediate and appropriate feedback about the effect of the youth's decisions was seen as the major means for encouraging self-regulating behavior. Similarly, non-infringing behavior, with its hidden assumption that the values of the youth don't have to be the same as those of the staff or other boys, does suggest that his behavior should not infringe on the values of others within the treatment setting. The means for encouraging behavior, in this case, was more highly internalized than in self-regulating behavior. The basic individual relationship between the staff member and the youth, with the youth having the opportunity to "model" himself after different people in the setting, was defined as the major means for developing sensitivity to others and an understanding of the limits of one's behavior. Having a clear statement of the behaviors to be examined and an explanation of why they are important for our consideration, we are in a position to set up the hypothesis. In developing the hypothesis, I relied on the staff and their formulation of the treatment goals to furnish me with the means for learning the content of the behaviors to be examined. To demonstrate this research approach this study is aimed at examining the following hypothesis: Self-regulating and non-infringing behavior is found more frequently in certain kinds of settings within a juvenile rehabilitation facility and the staff of that facility are able to predict the settings where these behaviors are most likely to occur. In testing this hypothesis, we will determine if literature dealing with the influence of the physical environment on behavior can give us any answers or suggestions as to the characteristics of each setting which is eliciting the observed behavior. That is, is the tendency for a particular behavior to occur in a particular setting, due in any way to the physical characteristics of that setting? Secondly, we will determine whether a set of specific conclusions for further study can be formulated about how the physical setting influences the described behaviors (ie., contributes or thwarts the accomplishment of the treatment goals). To the best of this author's knowledge, research, of a micro-ecological behavioral nature, has yet to be undertaken, which identifies a series of settings within a juvenile rehabilitation facility to determine whether these physical settings have a discernible effect upon the occurrence of self-regulating and non-infringing behavior. Description of the Method The method of analysis is based on the following two assumptions: 1. After securing a set of treatment goals, a particular set of behavioral categories can be developed and examined.
5 142 I ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN RESEARCH, VOL These defined behaviors will in fact reflect progress toward the treatment goals. In comparing the staff's prediction of where these behaviors were most likely to occur with the volume count of each behavior in each setting, the following steps were given: ~: Infer a Set of Behavioral Categories Indicating the Dimension of Self Regulating and Non-Infringing Behavior In developing the actual behavior categories, the focus was on providing commonsense, easily observable, overt behaviors that could be easily recorded so as to explain the dimension of self-regulating and non-infringing behavior. These behaviors were then generalized into short hand categories for observation. The table below provides a classification breakdown of the two behaviors in terms of its analytic and observational categories. Analytic Category SELF-REGULATING Behavior Staff makes a decision for boy Staff offers boyan opportunity to make his own decision Staff evaluates boy's decision Staff allows youth to evaluate the consequences of his decision Observational Category Staff decides Youth decides Staff evaluates Youth evaluates INFRINGING Youth insults, swears at peer Youth insults, swears at staff Youth physically attacks peer Youth physically attacks staff Youth directs aggression to destruction of property Verbal infringement (peer to peer) Verbal infringement (peer to staff) Physical infringement (peer to peer) Physical infringement (peer to staff) Property infringement Rather than index every observed self-regulated act the youth demonstrated (ie., it would be difficult to decipher whether the act was youth initiated or staff
6 3. HUMAN RESPONSES TO THE ENVIRONMENT / 143 instructed) it seemed more appropriate to focus on the means for encouraging this type of behavior -- immediate staff feedback. That is, indexing the staff's behavior and determine the degree to which they allow the youth the opportunity to make decisions; provide the appropriate feedback; and evaluate the boy's decision. For our test purposes, we were in fact measuring infringing behavior -- behaviors that tend to infringe upon the values of others -- to determine those areas more likely to encourage non-infringing behavior. Non-infringing behavior will be defined as that behavior where the least amount of observed infringing behavior occurs. Observing infringing behavior required that we record the interpersonal relations of both youth and staff. Step II: Define a Series of Settings Within the System A list of all possible settings within the ranch were made. This included settings within the two ranch houses and outside on the grounds. This list was generated with the help of staff members who were more fully acquainted with the ranch. Prime focus was on those areas which were most likely to elicit the behaviors of interest. The preliminary list to be investigated included the following: Argo House: Hislop House: Entrance, Dining area, Living room area, 4-Bed dorms, Hallway leading to dorm area, Basement, Kitchen. Dining area, Classrooms, Library, Basement, Laundry room, Music room, Wrestling room, Kitchen. Step III: Interview Staff to Acquire Their Ranking of What Kind of Behavior (Self-Regulating or Infringing) Is Most Likely to Occur in Each Setting The Likert summated format was used in order to provide comparisons with the results obtained with the observation techniques. Of a possible 28 staff members, 24 were interviewed. Of the latter number, 20 interviews were completed in the correct manner. Staff members were asked to estimate how often the dimension of self-regulating or infringing behavior could be expected to occur in each of the defined study settings. There were 4 choices for each setting: Almost always/ Usually/ Sometimes/ Very rarely. Point values of 4, 3, 2, 1 were assigned to these responses. Step IV: Measure by Observation the Defined Study Settings. Index the Frequency with which Self-Regulating and Infringing Behavior is Elicited in Each Setting Of the original list of 16 settings, 12 were retained to focus attention on during observation. The laundry room, music room, wrestling room, and kitchen in Hislop. House were discarded due to their sporadic and limited use by both staff and youth.
7 144 I ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN RESEARCH, VOL. 1 The location and timing of observations involved coverage of the 12 settings on a time-sampling basis. The 20 one-hour periods were randomly selected from a pool of 60 one-hour slots that could occur between Monday May 15 to Friday May 19, The 20 one-hour periods were evenly distributed between the morning, afternoon, and evening hours. Observations began as early as 8:00 am and lasted no later than 8:00 pm. An average of 4 one-hour observations were conducted each day so as not to alter the behavior of either the youth or the staff. Neither the staff or the youth knew precisely the purpose of the observations. Staff members did not suspect that their behavior was being evaluated along with the kids. In fact, the staff thought the observations were of the youth only. Observations were recorded on data sheets for quick and easy use. Observers were asked to record in the boxes provided, the number of times a youth or staff member engaged in each of the behavior categories. In addition, observers were asked to record on the data sheets, the total number of youth and staff present in each setting during the 5 minute period. Step V: Validate the Results Kendall's Rank Correlation r (tau) was used to test the strength of the association of the staff's ranking of the settings with the observed ranking (frequency count) of the settings for each behavior dimension. In addition, the significance of r was tested. Testing of the Hypothesis In correlating the staff's ranking with the observed ranking of the frequency with which each behavior occurred in each setting, the following correlations were calculated: Correlation I: The Staff's Ranking with Observed Ranking of the Frequency with which Infringing Behavior Occurs (r=.ll) Correlation II: The Staff's Ranking with Observed Ranking of the Frequency with which Self-Regulating Behavior Occurs (r=.52) Correlation III: The Staff's Ranking of Self-Regulating Behavior with the Observed Frequency of "Youth Decides" and "Youth Evaluates" (r=.43) In testing the significance of r, it was found that in the population of settings from which the sample was drawn: (a) the staff's predicted ranking and observed ranking of the occurrence of infringing behavior are not associated in the population of settings which this sample was drawn; (b) the staff's ranking and observed ranking of the frequency with which self-regulating behavior occurs is associated; (c) the staff's ranking of the predicted frequency of self-regulating behavior and the observed ranking of the actual frequency of "youth decides" and "youth evaluates" are associated.
8 3. HUMAN RESPONSES TO THE ENVIRONMENT 145 Analysis of the Findings: Influence of the Physical Environment There is little, if any literature, either psychological or in the man-environment field, which has systematically researched the relationship between general design features and its effect upon either the dimension of self-regulating or infringing behavior. The situation is even dimmer when trying to isolate this relationship in the setting of a juvenile treatment facility. Rather, the majority of literature dealing with the linkage of behavior to specific environmental features or patterns of physical elements has tended to focus on such behavioral dimensions as "personal space" (3); privacy (4); crowding (5); isolation (6); propinquity, friendship, and neighbor relations (7); and passivity (8). Since the literature offers little in explaining the influence of the physical setting of a juvenile rehabilitation facility upon the behaviors under study, we turn to our observations and early interviews with members of the professional staff for drawing some generalizations relating to the influence of the physical settings. Some interesting and significant differences were previously revealed between the staff's perception of the predicted frequency of the two behaviors and their actual observed occurrence (especially infringing behavior). It is relevant to consider whether these differences are in any way attributed to the influence of physicalenvironmental features. The analysis is organized around the following distinctive settings: Entrance to Argo House The entrance to Argo House is the visitor's first encounter with the Buckeye Boys Ranch. A low frequency of infringing behavior was discovered in this setting. In fact, the entrance had a total frequency of one recorded infringing behavior during the entire observation period. This corresponded closely to a low ranking by the staff of The close agreement between the staff's ranking and observed rankings as to the non-infringing nature of this setting can be attributed, in part, tg the influence of the physical characteristics of this setting (i.e., dominance "of administrative and staff office space, trophy showcases; and plaques honoring ranch founders and benefactors). The administrative influence of the entrance doesn't provide for an easy and most natural setting for encouraging this behavior. While the atmosphere is comfortable and a mood of friendly welcome, the immediate accessibility of the staff's offices lends a formal mood which connotes to the visitor and possibly to the youth alike, that of all the settings in the ranch, a base line of expected behavior and "decorum" is required here. The findings go on to indicate a high degree of self-regulating behavior. Interestingly enough, there was less agreement between the staff's rankings and the observed rankings as to the expected frequency of self-regulating behavior. The close location of the staff's offices, the staff lounge, and the general administrative nature of this setting could be a factor in contributing to the greater frequency of self-regulating behavior. In fact, as the findings indicate, this behavior tends to be mainly in the realm of the staff deciding and staff evalua-
9 146 ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN RESEARCH, VOL. 1 ting, with little opportunity for the youth to initiate more control in his decision-making (i.e., the entrance was ranked first in terms of the observed frequency with which the staff makes and evaluates decisions for the youth). There is the added possibility that the office and administrative character of the setting suggests to the individual staff member the need to exert greater control over the decision-making of the youth, if in fact, the desired and appropriate "showcase" behavior of the setting is to be maintained. Robert Bechtel's findings on the public housing environment are relevant here. (9) He found in the public housing environment that the heavy hand of management in all decisions fostered a passive and dependent attitude in its residents. Living Room in Argo House This setting, located off to the left of the entrance, is the major living area for the youths residing in Argo House. This setting clearly establishes, in the minds of those who enter, the residential character of the ranch (i.e., T.V.; bookshevles; comfortable and informal couches; brick fireplace; hanging "moosehead" etc.). While the staff's ranking agreed with our observations corresponding to the highest frequency of infringing behavior, the staff ranked this setting fifth in its expected degree of self-regulating behavior. The high frequency of infringing behavior could be attributed to the small scale of the setting and the many competing uses it serves. This high frequency is partly due to the number of youth present in the setting. As Figure I discloses, the greatest percentage of infringing behavior occurred when 4-7 youth were present. Interestingly enough, the presence of staff (which tends to remain constant over different settings with different frequencies of infringing behavior) is less of an influencing factor than the number of youth present. 14 Behavior Frequency ,r----,, \, \ I \ \ \ \ \ \ I I I OL_-1~~--~==========~ Number Present Number Staff Number Youth. Figure 1: The Distribution of Infringing Behavior (Living Room, Argo).
10 3. HUMAN RESPONSES TO THE ENVIRONMENT 147 A study entitled, "Toward a Psychological Theory of Crowding," would suggest that crowding could be related to the high occurrence of infringing behavior within this setting. Its author, J.A. Desor, contends that "being crowded" is "receiving excessive social stimulation and not merely a lack of space." (10) These findings would suggest that decreasing the density of people is by no means the only method of alleviating the high occurrence of infringing behavior within this setting. Lastly, the living room showed, in contrast to the entrance, a greater opportunity for the youth to playa stronger role in making and evaluating his decisions (i.e., 55% of the total,amount of observed self-regulating behavior was associated with the staff giving the youth a greater freedom in decision-making). Classrooms Of all the twelve settings, the classrooms received the most consistent agreement (observed and predicted) in terms of the frequency with which self-regulating behavior could be expected to occur. No doubt, the image of a classroom and its associated physical accouterments of desks, blackboards, etc. coins an easier image in the minds of the majority of the staff as being a most appropriate setting for encouraging self-regulating behavior. Also, to be considered, are Barker's and Gump's findings, on the relationship between the size of a school, size of its settings, and the associated behavior patterns that are produced. (11) Buckeye Boys Ranch, a small institution, creates small settings that possibly produce an undermanned classroom setting that, in contrast to a larger public school arrangement, allows the youth to have a greater responsibility in his decision-making, commensurate with his ability. Stanley Milgram, discusses the concept of "overload" which could provide an additional link to explaining the high occurrence of self-regulating behavior in this setting. (12) Milgram uses the term to depict the experience of the urbanite, as characterized by a wide variety of adaptations to an overloaded social environment which results in the allocation of less time to each input (i.e., disregard of the needs, interests, and demands of others). This setting consisted of a reduced range of situations determined very little by adaptations to overload. As a result, this could explain the increased time, on the part of the staff, for allowing and encouraging the youth to develop his cognitive and decision-making functions. Four-Bed Dorms in Argo House The staff, when interviewed, cited the 4-bed dorms in Argo as the one setting in the ranch most likely to contribute to infringements between the youth. This was borne out by the sum of the staff's rankings (3.00) indicating this setting as the second most likely setting of the 12 where infringing behavior could be expected to occur. During the entire 20 one-hour observation periods, 0 infringing behaviors were observed. While our observations were on a time-sampling basis and admittedly selective, too much emphasis might be placed on the associated advantages of the single and 2-bed dorm rooms versus the 4-bed dorms. While single
11 148 I ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN RESEARCH, VOL. 1 units might tend to increase a feeling of ownership by the youth, its associated advantage for encouraging non-infringing behavior might be over emphasized. While the findings of the low frequency of infringing behavior in the 4-bed dorms contradict the prevailing opinion among those who design single rooms as being preferable to larger dormitories for permitting privacy and reducing the competition of inmate influences, (13) they are in agreement with the work of Ittelson and Proshansky. (14) These researchers found that the proportion of isolatedpassive behavior rises regularly with the size of the bedroom in a psychiatric ward. They discovered more interaction (and might we add, more possibility of peer to peer infringement) in a 3-bed room of a psychiatric ward than in a 6-bed room. This finding suggests that those involved in the treatment of the juvenile delinquent might reconsider the neglected treatment benefits of a 4-bed dorms. Conclusion and Limitations of the Study The lack of an adequate enough data base in the remainder of the settings makes it difficult to assess and draw any appreciable conclusions as to the effects of the physical setting upon the two behaviors. While it may be possible to suggest the application of the method used in this investigation to study other settings, it is not possible to assert much certitude as to the validity and reliability of our findings to other social systems, even other juvenile treatment centers. I suspect it is highly possible that both the ecological structure and the normative patterns among the youth and the staff are in many ways unique and unlike those found in other juvenile treatment settings. Secondly, the practical application of our results is somewhat clouded by the degree to which infringing ("bad behavior") and self-regulating ("good behavior") are correlated. Similarly, as is typical of a case study, we found it necessary to structure our research methods and analysis, sometimes at the expense of blurring our results. For instance, an adequate statistical test was not administered to show that the observed behavior departed from a random pattern or one that was simply a function of the number of the persons present in the room. While the differences in the frequency of observed behavior are due in part to the influence of physical environmental features, no doubt, other factors (sociological and administrative) are to be considered. However, in a limited study of this nature, it was difficult to isolate the normative influence in our results. In summary, the proposed method of investigation can be a valuable approach to the planning profession as long as the methodological restrictions are made explicit. Notes and References 1. This paper is based on a thesis submitted by the author in partial" fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of City Planning from The Ohio State University. The research was supported, in part, by an OLEPA grant (No: J-70) provided by the Program for Study of Crime and Delinquency, Columbus, Ohio. The author is indebted to its Director, Dr. Harry E. Allen along with Professor Raymond Mills, Professor Jerrold Voss, and Dr. Richard