Youth, Communities, and Crime Research Group

The Youth, Communities, and Crime Research Group conducts research projects in collaboration with local community organizations, juvenile justice systems, community behavioral health centers, and academic settings. The goal of our lab's efforts is develop greater understanding about youth and families, the neighborhoods they live in, and the organizations that serve them. We focus on clarifying the relationships among problematic behaviors in youth, parent and peer relationships, the influences of neighborhood characteristics, and how service providers interact with youth and families to address problem behaviors.

Evaluations of Juvenile Justice Programs

We have recently concluded two evaluations of re-entry services provided to youth released from juvenile detention in Lucas County, funded by Ohio Department of Youth Services and the Department of Justice. These evaluations included focus on the relationships between re-entering youth and their parents, their views of the services they received through the court and related programs, and improvements in their long-term outcomes including reductions in recidivism. Research methods included youth and parent surveys, interviews with service providers, qualitative interviews with youth involved in the justice system, and analyses of court records. The evaluation was led by Carolyn Tompsett and Adam Watkins, both Associate Professors at BGSU.

We are currently using the findings from these evaluations to develop new studies with youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The overall goals of this program of study are to contribute to literature predicting outcomes among justice-involved youth, while collaborating with local court and community partners to make our findings useful as they develop new programs.

M.A.P.S. (Mapping Adolescents' Places and Spaces) Study

We recently completed a mixed-methods study with 55 youth who live in Toledo, OH. Detailed interviews and mapping exercises were used to find out how teens think about their neighborhooods and where they travel within and around their communities. We are hoping to learn more about the spaces teenagers encounter in their day-to-day activities, and how teens may be influenced by those communities. A subsample of youth were interviewed a second time several months later, to examine how their views and experiences in their neighborhoods might change over time. We plan to continue to explore how youth perceive their neighborhood contexts and how their movement between contexts is associated with their behaviors.

Children's Resource Center

We have concluded a project using secondary data collected as part of a community mental health clinic's standard outcome monitoring processes in order to examine how empirical measures may be used to improve treatment outcomes and client service selection in a community mental health setting. Using measures of emotional and behavioral problems and functioning in combination with information regarding the type and frequency of services, this study sought to answer several questions regarding client symptoms, service utilization, and treatment outcomes.


Carolyn J. Tompsett, Ph.D.

Direct email:

lab email: