Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Janet M. Kulberg


The increased incidence of violent behaviors by adolescents has had a significant impact on society. Because these behaviors are now being seen more frequently in school settings, the need for alternative forms of education has become apparent to administrators throughout the country.

The purpose of this study was to determine if an alternative high school program using Montessorian philosophy would enhance academic relevance, improve academic achievement, enhance social development, and improve the emotional well-being of the Socially and Enotionally Maladjusted adolescent.

The participants were 18 students diagnosed as Socially and Emotionally Maladjusted. The treatment group was comprised of 12 students placed in the alternative program, and the comparison group was comprised of six students who remained in the traditional self-contained classroom at the high school. Data were collected for the first half of the 1993/ 1994 school year and the first half of the 1994/ 1995 school year. Pre and post-test data were analyzed on both quantitative and qualitative measures.

Results indicated that adolescents ' emotional well-being may be enhanced by the use of Montessorian philosophy. Within the five month period covered by the study, statistical significance was not established for academic relevance, academic achievement, nor social development. It is noteworthy, however, that the trend of the means on all measurements indicated positive changes for the treatment group. Conversely, means for the comparison group were either unchanged or indicated negative trends. Qualitative results for the treatment group indicated that the students felt more comfortable with social interactions within the school and more positive about the likelihood of academic success.

These results justify further study to determine if the use of Montessorian philosophy is warranted as a basis for a viable alternative form of education for the Socially and Emotionally Maladjusted adolescent.



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