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Program Profile: Equipping Youth to Help One Another (EQUIP)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 06, 2011

Program Summary

A multicomponent treatment program administered in juvenile correctional facilities for juvenile delinquents and other youth with conduct disorders. The program is rated Promising. The experimental group demonstrated larger gains in social skills, lower levels of institutional misconduct, and were less likely to recidivate than either of the control groups.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
Equipping Youth to Help One Another (EQUIP) is a multicomponent treatment program that seeks to establish a “climate for change” where youth can turn antisocial and self-destructive behavior into positive behavior that helps them and others around them. This is done by teaching antisocial youth problem-solving and helping skills, anger management and social skills training, and moral education.


The intervention applies to male juveniles 15 to 18 years of age who are in correctional institutions for less serious felonies (e.g. breaking and entering, burglary) and violations of parole.

Program Activities/Program Theory
Research suggests that delinquent youth are often lacking social skills and proper moral judgment, and suffering from development delays. EQUIP combines elements from two other programs, Positive Peer Culture (PPC) and Aggression Replacement Training (ART), to address these issues. The group aspect of PPC programs—which has reportedly been shown to make youths more amenable to treatment and therapeutic change—is modified and supplemented with the curriculum and training of ART programs, with the result being EQUIP. Curriculum sessions, or “equipment meetings,” occur daily for a period of 1 hour to 90 minutes. These meetings are small, youth-run treatment groups with adult supervision. During meetings, each juvenile in the group discusses a recurring personal problem. The group and supervisor then use role-modeling, imitating, feedback, and practice procedures to help the group members develop social skills.


As mentioned, EQUIP incorporates curriculum from ART, where emphasis is on moral education in an attempt to help youth reach age-appropriate moral reasoning and social skills. This process aims to move youth away from appeals to physical power to sound moral reasoning. Youth are also taught anger-management strategies that cover cognitive–behavioral skills, such as self-monitoring of emotions and thoughts, thinking ahead, and self-evaluation. At the end of the equipment meeting, the group “awards” the meeting to a particular group member for discussing and working through his problem.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Social Skills and Moral Judgment
Leeman, Gibbs, and Fuller (1993) found that overall the experimental group, those receiving EQUIP (Equipping Youth to Help One Another), demonstrated large gains in social skills compared to the control groups. The change score correlations for EQUIP boys were highly significant compared to control boys. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) results show that the experimental group gains were significantly greater than the control groups, and that the control groups’ scores did not differ from one another. Both of the control groups had deficit levels of social skill functioning.


Institutional Misconduct
ANCOVA results show significant positive outcomes for EQUIP boys compared to control boys with regard to misconduct. Both staff records and self-report surveys show significantly lower levels of misconduct and less unexcused school absences for the experimental group than for either of the control groups.

The EQUIP group was less likely to recidivate than either of the control groups. At 6 months, there was no discernable difference between groups, but at 12 months, the EQUIP group’s rate of recidivism had stayed the same, whereas the control groups’ rates of recidivism had escalated. This represented a significant difference. Specifically, 15 percent of EQUIP boys had recidivated, while 40.5 percent of control boys had recidivated 12 months after release.


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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Leeman, Gibbs, and Fuller (1993) implemented EQUIP (Equipping Youth to Help One Another) in a medium-security correctional facility for juveniles in a Midwestern state. The facility housed 200 boys between the ages of 15 and 18. From this group, the researchers drew a sample of 54 subjects—18 in the experimental condition and 36 in one of two control conditions. All boys in the institution were eligible to be in the study, with the exception of boys committed on a 90-day parole revocation. These boys were excluded due to the short duration of their stay; researchers wanted a representative sample of the institution.

The mean age of the sample was 16. Most of the subjects (38 boys) were white; the rest were African American, with one Hispanic youth. There were no significant differences between the experimental and control groups on age, ethnicity, self-reported misconduct, or severity of committing offense.

Subjects were randomly assigned to the experimental group or one of two control groups—simple and motivational. Neither control group received any programming. The motivational control group received a 5-minute motivational speech just after pretesting. This speech encouraged subjects to help other inmates by highlighting the benefits of such behavior and concluded with a challenge to control their own life and change it for the better. Aside from this motivational speech, these subjects did not receive any treatment.

Behavioral conduct was measured with archival and self-report data. Archival data was used to measure subjects’ criminal history, including committing offense, and institutional misconduct was represented by disciplinary reports. Postincarceration data consisted chiefly of parole revocation and/or institutional recommitment. Self-reported behavior was collected through surveys: Subjects completed surveys regarding preincarceration and institutional misconduct. Survey items covered delinquent behavior, such as attacking someone, breaking into a house or building, or using drugs. The institutional misconduct survey covered behavior in the previous month, such as damaging property, getting in a fight, defying staff, or using drugs.

Moral judgment was measured using the Sociomoral Reflection Measure, and social skills were measured using the Inventory of Adolescent Problems. Both of these instruments have acceptable levels of reliability and validity. Instrument items cover the importance of basic moral values such as truth, property, law, and justice.

Posttesting was administered within 7 days prior to a subject’s release from the institution. Subjects were followed up at 6 months and 12 months following release by examining any recidivism data (parole revocation or court contact resulting in recommitment).

Change score, chi-square, and analysis of covariance (or ANCOVA) analysis was used to detect any differences in social skills, moral judgment, institutional misconduct, and postrelease recidivism data.

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1

Leeman, Leonard W., John C. Gibbs, and Dick Fuller. 1993. “Evaluation of a Multi-Component Group Treatment Program for Juvenile Delinquents.” Aggressive Behavior 19:281–92.

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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Gibbs, John C., Granville Bud Potter, Alvaro Q. Barriga, and Albert K. Liau. 1996. “Developing the Helping Skills and Prosocial Motivation of Aggressive Adolescents in Peer Group Programs.” Aggression and Violent Behavior 1:283–305.

Gibbs, John C., Granville Bud Potter, Arnold P. Goldstein, and Larry K Brendtro. 1998. “How EQUIP programs help youth change.” Reclaiming Children and Youth 7:117–22.

Gibbs, John C., Granville Bud Potter, Ann-Marie DiBiase, and Renee S. Devlin. 2008. “The EQUIP Program: Helping Youth to See–Really See–The Other Person.” Reclaiming Children and Youth 17:35–38.

Gibbs, John C., Granville Bud Potter, Ann-Marie DiBiase, and Renee S. Devlin. 2009. “The EQUIP Program: Social Perspective-Taking for Responsible Thought and Behavior.” In B. Glick (Ed.). Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for At-Risk Youth, Vol. 2. Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute.

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Program Snapshot

Age: 15 - 18

Gender: Male

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Hispanic, White

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): Correctional

Program Type: Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, Conflict Resolution/Interpersonal Skills, Gender-Specific Programming, Group Therapy, Leadership and Youth Development

Targeted Population: Prisoners

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide

Program Developer:
Granville Bud Potter
Executive Director
Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility
1746 Alum Creek Drive
Columbus OH 43220
Phone: 614.462.4600
Fax: 614.462.4606

John Gibbs
Ohio State University
237 Psychology Building 1835 Neil Avenue Mall
Columbus OH 43210
Phone: 614.292.7918
Fax: 614.292.4537