1 Masaryk University (CZECH REPUBLIC)
2 Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts (CZECH REPUBLIC)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Page: 4900 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1141
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
The aim of this study is to present a practical example of the importance of teaching students of human science to use a science based approach in their future practice.

In the lecture of Child psychotherapy we have showed the documentary film Scared Straight (Shapiro, 1978) to the sample of 82 5th grade psychology students. This movie is about a 3-hour juvenile delinquency prevention program based on shock therapy and theory of deterrence. In this program young delinquents visit a high security prison where they are confronted, verbally molested and intimidated by prisoners in order to “get straight”. After the film we also showed a last part of a television documentary on the program aired in 1979 providing evidence that 16 of the 17 delinquents obbey law and other data indicating that the success rates of program itself varied between 80% and 90% (Scared straight!, 1979). We asked students to fill in a questionnaire measuring attitude towards this program (effectiveness of the program, willingness to establish program in Czech Republic, attitude towards participation of delinquents and participation of non-delinquents).

After the filling of the questionnaire we presented the results of meta-analytic studies focused on the effectiveness of the program together with the arguments and suggestions from the discussion (e.g.: Lipsey, 1992; Petrosino, Carolyn, Holis-Peel, & Stern, 2014). These studies stated that this program is not effective in crime prevention, on the contrary it increases recidivism rates. Authors also did not found any study proving that the program is effective (Petrosino, Carolyn, Holis-Peel, & Stern, 2014). Then we asked students to fill in questionnaire measuring attitude towards the juvenile delinquency program once again. We have also used some qualitative questions focusing on exploration of potential attitude change.

The attitude shift was very high from highly supporting the program to almost resenting the program. If students were not confronted with the scientific-based results they could have used a program that could have harmful effects on their clients.

In this contribution the results of shifts in attitude towards the effectiveness of the program together with the analyses of qualitative questions will be presented.

The results of this study can show teachers how important is to lead students to apply science-based approach in their future practice, scientists how important is to popularize the science and practitioners how important is to use scientifically based data in preventive and therapeutic work with their clients.

[1] Aos, S., Phipps, P., Barnoski, R., & Lieb, R. (2001). The comparative cost and benefits of programs to reduce crime. Washington State Institute for Public Policy.
[2] Lipsey, M. W. (1992). Juvenile Delinquency Treatment: A Meta-Analytic Inquiry into the. V T. D. Cook, H. Cooper, D. S. Condray, H. Hartmann, I. V. Hedges, R. J. Light, . . . F. H. Cooper, Meta-Analysis for Explanation: A Casebook (pp. 83-127). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
[3] Petrosino, A., Carolyn, T.-P., Holis-Peel, M. E., & Stern, A. (2014). Scared Straight and Other Juvenile Awareness Programs for Preventing Juvenile Delinquency. Crime Prevention Research Review.
[4] Scared straight! (1979, May 20). Chicago, Il: WFLD Channel. (part 6) Retrieved October 7, 2016, from
[5] Shapiro, A. (1978). Scared straight [film]. Santa Monica, CA: Pyramid Films.
Science based approach, attitude shift, education, juvenile delinquency.