The “Character Development Through Service and Reduced Recidivism: Project SOS” is a prospective, longitudinal, naturalistic study of 195 juvenile offenders court-referred to treatment. Continued follow-up of this sample will provide us with clinically important data regarding juveniles’ service work and spiritual transformation in Alcoholics Anonymous that facilitates their character development and return back into the community following treatment. We collect high rigor data from 16 municipal court counties in Ohio to explore the long-term benefits from helping others and God-consciousness (GC) on youths’ altered life trajectories. We hypothesize that wayward youth who help others with addiction will show greater long-term improvement in sustained sobriety, reduced recidivism, and strength of character, effects that are amplified when combined with higher levels of GC. In collaboration with national leaders in medicine, sociology, criminology, and theology, we propose an innovative research agenda of high scientific rigor to demonstrate the impact of youths’ daily walk with God and fellowman in developing character and breaking the cycle of drink/trouble. With use of new online technologies, Project SOS will increase broadcast of the importance of practicing faith-based principles of giving, compassion, integrity, and responsibility, and their benefits long-term to the millions of lives touched by addiction inside and out of jail. We expect our Project deliverables that include prolific print and electronic media products to have high impact across academic fields of study; to alter life trajectories of addicts and their families, increase safety in communities, and reduce healthcare costs; and to spark reform of rehabilitation and judicial sentencing of juveniles with addiction to feature AAH.
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