Background/Objective: This study was needed to determine if religious retreats, particularly extended
three-day retreats, had any impact on the disruptive behavior of incarcerated adolescents attending the
retreat compared to those who did not attend.
Method: The authors compared the number of Behavior Time-Outs (BTOs) assigned by staff (a measure of
disruptive behaviors) to those attending the retreat and to those who did not attend the retreat; these were
compared for both groups at one month before the retreat and at one and three months after the retreat. The retreat
and control groups were compared for using statistical analysis (chi square, t test and repeated measure
ANOVA) to detect differences between the groups and the statistical significance of the retreat on BTOs for
the retreat group.
Results: The number of BTOs in the retreat group fell from a baseline of 3.82 to 2.42 per week at one month
and 2.26 per week at three months. At the same time the control group displayed an increase in BTOs from
3.84 at baseline to 4.06 at one month and then to 3.50 at three months. When the retreat group BTOs were
compared to that of the control group over time, our analyses revealed a significant within group by time interaction,
F = 4.42, p 0.039. We also noted a significant between effect for groups at F= 5.26, p = 0.024.
Conclusions: These data suggest that a religious retreat like Epiphany can lower disruptive behavior, at least
over a three month term. Correctional facilities may want to investigate the addition of similar types of faithbased
interventions to the milieu. Further studies are needed to substantiate this finding.