Date of Conferral







Jane Lyons


Juvenile direct-care officers working in juvenile correctional facilities historically responded to critical and potentially aggressive incidents using nontherapeutic strategies. The purpose of this study was to examine and to understand the lived experiences of direct-care officers' use of de-escalation skills for managing violent and disruptive behaviors in juvenile correctional facilities. The findings from this study may add to the existing literature by describing juvenile correctional officers' experiences as well as to better understand their perceptions and attitude using de-escalation strategies in correctional environments. The social learning and self-efficacy theories provided the conceptual framework to examine and understand their experiences. The phenomenological design was used to examine the lived experiences of 9 juvenile direct-care officers use of de-escalation strategies to respond to disruptive and aggressive incidents within the juvenile correctional facility. The 9 direct-care officers participated in audio-recorded interviews that were transcribed and analyzed using Moustakas's phenomenological steps that identified 3 themes using de-escalation strategies: to avoid use of force and reduce liability of injuries; to resolve conflicts using their words to de-escalate the youth or the situation; and to use according to their training, perceived level of confidence, and effectiveness of de-escalation strategies. Understanding direct-care officers' perceptions of use of de-escalation may result in positive social change for fostering caring and safe living correctional environments and strengthen current training curriculums for working with aggressive and disruptive behaviors.