Ocean Tides students with Doctors Lawrence Grebstein and Judy Van Wyk

Ocean Tides students with Doctors Lawrence Grebstein and Judy Van Wyk

Narragansett, RI – Ocean Tides is our Lasallian residential and educational facility founded in 1975 in Narragansett, Rhode Island, for young men in need of diversionary counseling or residential treatment. The boys, grades seven through twelve within this program, receive ongoing educational services, structure, and support.

Lawrence C. Grebstein, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Rhode Island (URI) has been the primary clinical psychology consultant to the Ocean Tides School for 36 years now and has been instrumental in facilitating appropriate treatment recommendations based on his keen professional insight.

Grebstein realized early on in his relationship with Ocean Tides that they were a model program for other facilities that deal with court adjudicated boys because of the quality services they provide in their residential, social services, and educational components in addition to the highly detailed records that are kept for the resident’s stay and throughout the several-month period of aftercare follow up.

Though the data collected during each young man’s stay is thorough, in 2002 Grebstein began a comprehensive research project that he is conducting with Judy A. Van Wyk, PhD., Associate Professor of Sociology at URI which involves the construction and analysis of a large anonymous database of over 1600 youth ages 13 – 17 who have resided at the facility since it opened. The result of this compilation will be a book tentatively titled, Tides of Misfortune and Mayhem: Treating Male Juvenile Delinquents.

Some of the vast information includes current and prior social services reports, police officers’ reports, academic transcripts, psychological and psychiatric evaluations, parent surveys, court records, and much more. This information is represented in over 1900 variables that are listed and described in a codebook developed by both Grebstein and Van Wyk in the initial research stage.

All information is coded by an identification number so that confidentiality is maintained, and each individual case takes approximately 3 ½ hours to record. The goal is to have 1500 cases completed in the database for the book.

When completed, this database will be the largest and most comprehensive ever collected in the United States with court adjudicated male juvenile delinquents. It will serve as the basis for investigating a number of important practical and theoretical research  questions related to the causes, prevention, and treatment of juvenile delinquency.


Recent coverage in the Narragansett Times, click to read more.

A major question for the present research is the issue of recidivism. This will be investigated in the second phase of the research. Currently Ocean Tides follows each resident for a three month period after completing the program, but ideally, the authors would like to obtain follow-up information after a period of five years.

“We believe these boys are troubled and they tend to experience life differently from other boys their age. They are more likely to be economically and socially poor and lacking in basic education and social support networks.  They have had little if any structure in their daily lives, and have low aspirations for their future success. These troubled young men come to Ocean Tides incomplete with important pieces of life’s puzzle missing. They are not broken because that would imply that, in spite of having all of the required pieces, they no longer function correctly. We cannot assume they are inherently bad or evil either since too many essential elements of their lives are missing to make that judgment. It seems befitting of their predicament that any attempts to correct their illegal behavior need to  begin by making them whole, filling in the structural and emotional gaps they desperately need in order to function legitimately in society,” concur Grebstein and Van Wyk. The release date of the book will likely be scheduled in 2015.

To see recent coverage on this story in the Narragansett Times, see the following link, URI Professors Present 12 Year Study of Ocean Tides >
or click the newspaper image above.