Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


The purpose of this study is to enhance therapeutic and educational curriculum of the transitional age client (normally described as, between the ages of 18-24 years old) within a Dual Diagnosis residential program for adults with psychological disabilities and chemical dependency, by investigating how current curriculum is facilitating healthy identity development. The terms dual diagnosis and transitional age client are defined, along with an in-depth look at how healthy identity development may manifest itself for an individual with an addiction and coexisting psychiatric disorder. Individuals referred into the residential program are all clients of the County and Department of Behavioral Health. The study uses a questionnaire and DESCA observational tool to investigate how the transitional age clients feel they are being affected in several core areas, identified in the literature as components in facilitating positive identity formation. The results identify how the transitional age client is being affected in the three core areas of 1) Vocation/School, 2) Self/Family/Ethnic Identity, 3) Life and Social Skills. The results also discuss successful elements of the residential program and make recommendations continued improvement in the level of care and treatment for this particular age group in nurturing positive identity development.


Thesis (M.A.) Institute for Advanced Studies in Education