Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Kelli R. Paquette, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

George R. Bieger, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Valeri R. Helterbran, Ed.D.


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the academic, emotional, and social experiences of males incarcerated within a rural Pennsylvania correctional facility prior to their dropping out of school. After evaluating the data, recommendations were made to all stakeholders responsible for the welfare of adolescents. The recommendations included methods to improve the experiences of future adolescents who are at-risk for dropping out of school based upon feedback received from twelve incarcerated men between the ages of 18 and 24. The recommendations identify ways to assist in the three domains, as well as shed light to the problems they faced with drug abuse. Through discussions regarding their achievements, barriers, and relationships in each domain, the participants identified the strains they faced and how social learning influenced the decisions they made. Their stories support the ideas proposed in the General Strain Theory and Revised Strain Theory of Robert Agnew and the Social Learning Theory of Ronald Akers. Should the stakeholders involved in the lives of adolescents discuss and implement feasible recommendations as proposed in this study, it is possible that school dropout rates will decline.