Committee Chair

Bumphus, Victor W.

Committee Member

Park, Seong Min; Garland, Tammy


Dept. of Criminal Justice and Legal Assistant Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Using school and program records for 236 ninth grade students involved in the GEAR UP program, a partial test of Hirschi’s social control theory (1969) was conducted to investigate the effect of academic performance and social bonds on problem behavior. Rarely tested in at-risk, minority student groups, the adolescents sampled in this research attended schools zoned for predominantly disadvantaged minority communities. Findings demonstrate that grade point average, attendance, gender, and participation in GEAR UP summer activities significantly impact student behavior. The results have implications for broadening the context of social control theory and reducing school delinquency.


This research would have been impossible without the support and guidance of my dissertation committee. First, I would like to thank my mentor and committee chair, Dr. Vic W. Bumphus for your belief in me and my vision. I truly appreciate your expertise and investment in my academic, personal, and professional development. Second, I would to extend my indebted gratitude to Dr. Seong min Park. This research was greatly enriched by your knowledge and statistical mastery. Your patience and willingness to assist me in this endeavor greatly enhanced this experience. Third, I would like to thank Dr. Tammy Garland for your unyielding support, guidance, and advocacy. Lastly, and certainly not least, I would like to thank my wife, secondary education consultant, and best friend, Natasha N. Johnson for your overwhelming support, patience, encouragement, and commitment to our individual and collective goals. You have provided me with the strength, courage, inspiration, and motivation needed to fulfill my destiny. I would also like to thank the Criminal Justice Department for accepting me and believing in me. Every member of the staff and faculty has been instrumental in my academic journey and I will never forget your kindness, support, and faith in me. Finally, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Dr. Hunter Huckabay of the GEAR UP program and Dr. Keith White of the Public Education Foundation (PEF) in Chattanooga, TN. Without your cooperation and assistance, this research would not be possible. Entrusting me with the data allowed this study to highlight the need for interventions in one of the most vulnerable and challenging populations in the public school system.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




College preparation programs -- Tennessee -- Evaluation; Achievement motivation; Academic achievement


delinquency; bonds; intervention; GEAR UP; asocial; at-risk

Document Type

Masters theses




ix, 91 leaves