Psychology paper causes personal problems


Photo Courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio via

A woman holds her head in her hands as she stares at her laptop.

By Bella Keys, Staff Writer

This semester I am taking a psychology course and seemingly can never write exactly what the professor wants for every paper.

This is super annoying, especially because I really enjoy the professor and the class. For the final, we have been told to design our own prevention program for some at-risk developing youth. You have to choose what age group you want to target, why they are at risk and then design an entire program. I feel like I am so out of my league for this — I have no idea how to create a prevention program, much less find ten research articles in support of this. As a result, I am documenting my struggle here as I try to figure out how to tackle this project.

To begin, we had a presentation in class on our topics. The professor did not like a single word I said, so I decided it was time to start the entire project over. I have now chosen to target youths aged 14-18 who are at risk of going to juvenile detention centers. So far, I have found multiple broad research articles, but nothing extremely related to my topic. Honestly, I have no idea how to do this because the rubric is pretty vague. Ideas of dropping out have begun to enter my head — I really, really do not want to get another subpar grade on a paper from him.

Anyways, in my research I have decided I want to create a program that targets boys coming from low socioeconomic statuses and have divorced or separated parents. I would also like to include boys who have or have had a parent in jail. I have also been considering including towns that are run by gangs, but I think this may be a little too specific.

Okay at this point I have finally decided on a topic. Step one: complete. Now, step two is to choose a promotive factor. For this, I’m going to do prosocial engagement and academic achievement. A promotive factor is something you want to promote to keep these boys out of jail. I think teaching them healthy relationships and giving them a chance at getting into college could drastically change their minds on making bad decisions that could leave a mark on their record.

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Next is deciding how the program will work. I am thinking of doing a strength-based program that rewards the boys for good behavior. This program would be a program that splits the boys off into groups so they can make emotional ties with members of their own group and work together to better their lives. In order to make this work I will need to find multiple prevention programs like this outlined in some research articles. As for that, I will need to keep you updated because for now I have shared all I can!

Bella Keys is a junior in LAS.

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