Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Two preventively oriented summer day-camp programs: Effects on children and high school counselors
Yellott, A.W.
Doctoral Dissertation, University of Rochester, 1973.

Determine the effects of two different summer day camp programs on the behavior of emotionally disturbed children. Examine the effects of involvement with emotionally disturbed children on high school counselors.

Campers: 33 boys and 28 girls in grades one through three, selected from one school population.

Counselors: 27 students from the same high school were assigned to the two camp programs (12 to one program and 15 to the other). The control group was comprised of 13 students who did not participate in either of the programs. The average age of the counselors was approximately 15 years.


  • Camp Programs: In one program four high school volunteer counselors worked as a team with a group of ten children. In the other program, each high school volunteer counselor had responsibility for two children. The camps ran for ½ day, 3 ½ days each week for eight weeks (23 sessions total).
  • 11 males and eight females were assigned to one camp program, 11 males and 10 females were assigned to the second camp program, and 11 males and 10 females were assigned to a control group.


  • Teachers used the Ottawa Behavior Checklist, A-M-L Behavior Scale, and The Adjective Checklist to rate students' behavior before and after camp.
  • Parents used the Missouri Children's Behavior Checklist and the Home and School Attitude Measure to rate children's behavior before and after camp.
  • Counselors used the Missouri Children's Behavior Checklist to rate campers' behavior after six days of camp and at the end of camp. An inter-rater reliability analysis on the counselor ratings revealed a considerable discrepancy, casting doubt on the reliability and validity of the MCBC ratings.
  • Counselors were tested before and after camp using the Situational Response Test, Helper Simulation Inventory, and Inventory of Attitudes on Family Life and Children. Attitudes and knowledge about mental health and illness were measured before and after camp using sections of the Conception of Mental Illness Scale, Community Mental Health Ideology Scale and an adaptation of the Semantic Differential Scale. Counselors also completed process analysis forms indicating percentages of time spent in various activities during the camp day and an end of the summer program evaluation form.

Design: Pre-test/post-test design with repeated measures on the teacher rating scales.

Data Analysis:

  • Parent rating scale data were analyzed using a 2x2 ANOVA
  • Planned comparisons were used to analyze the teacher rating and counselor data for between group differences on pre-post change scores and pre-post changes within treatment and control groups. A series of 3x2 ANOVAs were used to analyze data for gender differences.


  • Children who participated in the day camp program experienced a general reduction in maladaptive behavior, while children who did not participate in the program maintained the same degree of disturbance or got worse.
  • Substantial differences between male and female response to the camp program. Males showed significantly more positive behavior change than females on several of the teacher rating scales. Females in the more individualized program did show a slight reduction in negative behaviors and fewer positive behaviors at the end of the program. However, the females involved in the camp program showed significantly less deterioration in behavior than the control group.
  • No differences between the two types of camp programs in terms of effects on campers or on attitudes of counselors.
  • Counselors did not improve in their knowledge about mental health, while control subjects showed a significant positive change in this area. These results may have greater importance in light of the fact that counselors had significantly higher scores on the mental health knowledge scale pre-test.
  • Findings indicated that counselors were more understanding of children's mental issues but more critical in their attitudes toward a variety of concepts related to mental health. The researcher suggests that these finding may be interpreted to indicate that control group subjects were naively positive while counselors were more realistically critical in their attitudes toward children's mental health issues.
  • Counselors in both program groups showed more positive attitude towards children with emotional problems at the end of the summer than the control group subjects.
  • Counselors in the more individualized program group became significantly less self-accepting over the summer.
  • Counselors in both programs showed greater post-test self-ideal self-discrepancy than control subjects.
  • Child Rearing Attitudes and Response Scale results indicated counselors showed significantly greater preference for understanding and less preference for rejecting responses and began to use fewer lecturing and moralizing responses to campers at the end of the summer. The control group showed the opposite tendency.