The effects of peer counseling on at-risk high school youth

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

John H. Croghan, Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to determine what effects, if any, participation in a peer counseling program had on the self-esteem, grade point averages, absences, and discipline referrals of a group of 43 at-risk ninth grade students over a three-year period at a comprehensive high school in southwest Florida.Twelfth grade peer counselors and ninth grade counselees were enrolled in a peer counseling course with a prescribed curriculum and professional instructors to facilitate the helping relationship between peers. Primary goals of the program were to strengthen student self-esteem, improve grades, and reduce absences and discipline referrals by providing supportive counseling and direction, tutoring, role modeling, and friendship. Over a three-year period the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (CSEI) was used for pre- and post-testing subjects at the beginning and end of their freshman year to determine changes in self-esteem during the treatment period. Data on grade point averages, absences, and discipline referrals were collected and grouped for analysis using a series of paired, within-group, repeated measure t-tests with a single sample of subjects. Two-tailed tests and an alpha level of.05 were used for statistical analysis.Findings revealed differences in pre- and post-CSEI total scores of 2.32 with a probability level of.30. Results did not indicate a statistically significant change. The mean difference in GPA's at pre- and post-treatment was.09 with a probability level of.03. This increase was statistically significant and was unlikely to have occurred by chance. Mean difference in absences from pre- to post-intervention was $-$3.81 with a probability level of.01. The number of absences of participants was significantly less at the conclusion of the treatment period and is unlikely to have occurred by chance. Pre- and post-mean difference in discipline referrals was $-$.93; the probability level was.07. The difference was not statistically significant, and the probability this difference occurred by chance is unacceptably high.


Education, Guidance and Counseling; Education, Secondary; Psychology, Developmental; Education, Philosophy of

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text