Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy(Clinical Psychology)


Department of Psychology


This report examines the effectiveness of personal construct group work with troubled adolescents.

A personal construct account of adolescence was presented followed by an account of the processes of group work from a personal construct perspective. A personal construct model of group work with troubled adolescents was then developed. Drawn from the research studies supporting this model, the aims of this research were to investigate adolescent differences between troubled and functional adolescents and the individual outcome of group work, the perceived effectiveness of group work by the participants, and the processes of group work with troubled adolescents.

Seventy-six troubled and functional adolescents, 12-15 years, attending five secondary schools in the Wollongong district took part in this research along with their parents and their teachers. Twenty-eight of the troubled adolescents participated in the personal construct group work.

Individual assessment measures offered some support for the hypotheses, showing that after group work troubled adolescents were using more abstract and interpersonal construing than they were before, and less disruptive behaviours to twelve months later. Tools developed to assess perceived effectiveness of group work found that adolescents and their parents evaluated personal construct group work as effective in bringing about changes in interpersonal behaviour, while the teachers found it effective in bringing about changes in the personal behaviour of troubled adolescents. Measures of group process provided some support that group members were increasingly evaluated more positively on the group work goals.

The efficacy of the group work as an outcome study based on personal construct psychology was evaluated, along with the value of the Personal Construct Model of Group Work with Troubled Adolescents as a research model. An account of group work process with troubled adolescents was followed by observations on the clinical implications of this research as a group work intervention for troubled adolescents.