IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Youth care workers' views on the challenges of working with girls: An analysis of the mediating influence of practitioner gender and prior experience with girls


  • Lanctôt, Nadine
  • Ayotte, Marie-Hélène
  • Turcotte, Mathilde
  • Besnard, Thérèse


Research on helping agents' preferences regarding the gender of justice-involved clients has shown that practitioners are reluctant to work with girls, which they perceive as particularly difficult and demanding. Recognizing the potentially detrimental impact of this reluctance on the quality of interventions delivered to girls, this paper investigates preferences for client gender among a sample of 131 practitioners working with juveniles mandated into residential care. We also explore the perceived level of difficulty that these practitioners associate with intervention with both genders. These perceptions are contextualized by controlling for practitioners' gender, level of education, as well as current and previous work experience with both clienteles. Findings show that practitioners significantly prefer working with boys. This preference, however, is only found among male practitioners. Furthermore, practitioners with experience with both boys and girls have no significant preference for the gender of the clientele and feel they possess sufficient knowledge of both clienteles, in contrast to those who only worked with boys. Yet, actual work experience with both boys and girls does not eliminate the impression that working with girls is more difficult than with boys. Our findings reaffirm the need to improve training and supervision of practitioners and highlight the importance of encouraging and facilitating work experience with both genders. But above all, our results suggest that the professional preferences, affinities, and abilities of practitioners should be recognized and valued in order to create gender-responsive contexts of intervention.

Suggested Citation

  • Lanctôt, Nadine & Ayotte, Marie-Hélène & Turcotte, Mathilde & Besnard, Thérèse, 2012. "Youth care workers' views on the challenges of working with girls: An analysis of the mediating influence of practitioner gender and prior experience with girls," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 2240-2246.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:34:y:2012:i:11:p:2240-2246 DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.08.002

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthews, Betsy & Hubbard, Dana Jones, 2008. "Moving ahead: Five essential elements for working effectively with girls," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 494-502, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ayotte, Marie-Hélène & Lanctôt, Nadine & Tourigny, Marc, 2015. "Pre-treatment profiles of adolescent girls as predictors of the strength of their working alliances with practitioners in residential care settings," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 61-69.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:34:y:2012:i:11:p:2240-2246. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.