Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Behavioral Sciences and the Law 27:4 (July/August 2009), pp. 627–642.

doi: 10.1002/bsl.881


Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Used by permission.


Our study first determined what juveniles know about the juvenile court process. Second, it evaluated a DVD designed to be a systematic and simple way to improve this knowledge. A pre- and post-test design was used with two pilot samples and two samples from the population of interest. A sample from a juvenile detention center (n = 118) was the focus of this study. Initial knowledge of the court process was quite low for the detention sample (pretest M = 64.0%, SD = 14.2%). All samples experienced a significant improvement of knowledge after watching the DVD. Youth in the detention sample had a mean improvement from pretest to posttest of 6.4% (SD = 11.9%), with mean scores at posttest being 70.3% (SD = 17.4%). Respondents varied in their performance on different question topics, scoring the lowest on questions related to what happens at juvenile court hearings. The social and demographic variables of age, race, gender, grades in school, number of previous arrests, and the number of times the respondent had been to court were evaluated through regression analysis. Age and race were found to be significantly related to pretest scores, and race was significantly related to improvement scores.