Is the Development of Gender-Specific Programs Warranted?

Nadine Lanctot, Universite de Montreal

Do adolescent males and females have different needs? Is the development of gender-specific programs warranted? This research aims to answer these questions. Youths' needs were assessed with two samples. The first one is composed of 121 adolescent males and 154 adolescent females who were sentenced to a placement in a youth institution for their seriuous problem behavior. The second sample is composed of 165 practitioners working with these youths. The sampling strategy used in the present study allows a match between the results of youths and the results of their practitioners. Questionnaire administration took an average of one hour. This questionnaire evaluates the programmatic and the non-programmatic needs of youths. The first dimension refers to youths' need of participating in programs that aim to develop social skills, to facilitate a successful transition to adulthood, or to prevent or stop alcohol and drug use and victimization. The second dimension concerns youths' needs in terms of their relationships with their practitioners. Comparisons between the programmatic needs of males and females reveal more similarities than differences. However, more sex differences were observed for relational needs. These results offer guidelines that will help shape interventions.

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Updated 05/20/2006