Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Dr. Nora E. Charles

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Joye Anestis

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Randy Arnau

Committee Member 3 School



The Youth ChalleNGe Program is a voluntary program for adolescents who have dropped out of high school and is intended to address various needs of at-risk youth. As a result, individuals are motivated to enroll for an array of reasons. Though prior research on the Youth ChalleNGe Program has sought to identify individual factors that determine program outcomes, no study has considered motivation for enrollment as a predictor of program success. Further, personality traits related to goal setting and self-regulation may impact the relationship between motivation and program outcome. Archival data was gathered from 710 participants in the Youth ChalleNGe program on their reasons for enrollment and their personality. Facility records regarding disciplinary infractions and early program termination were collected. It was hypothesized that there would be 3 major reasons for enrollment (education, life-improvement, and job or military interest). Further, that motivations to enroll would predict different rates of program completion and disciplinary infractions. Finally, it was hypothesized that borderline and antisocial personality traits would attenuate positive effects on outcome. Results of the study found that education, life-coping skills, and career goals were the 3 most frequent motivations for enrollment, though 2 additional reasons were also coded. The second hypothesis was partially supported, as motivation predicted disciplinary infractions but not program termination. Borderline and antisocial traits did not impact the relationship. The current research adds to the literature on non-traditional residential treatment for adolescents and the role of motivation and autonomy in adolescent treatment success.