Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Chwalisz, Kathleen


This study documented the gender-responsive youth programing strategies within Girls Rock camps using grounded theory methodology. Experiencing gender oppression is a stressor that creates an increased risk for mental and physical health concerns for gender-marginalized people. The risks for mental illnesses, because of gender-based oppression, is compounded when an individual holds additional marginalized statuses (e.g., age, race, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, ability status, etc.; APA, 2007). Gender bias has also been shown to negatively impact young people’s self-esteem, academic achievement, and vocational aspirations (Kamsler, 1992). Given this negative impact of gender bias, it is important to address gender related discrimination early in adolescents’ lives to mitigate the harmful ramifications of living in a sexist society. Gender-responsive youth programs are extracurricular, community-based organizations that incorporate the specific concerns of girls and gender non-conforming youth into organizational policies, practices, and activities. Girls Rock is a music-based, gender-responsive youth program that teaches young people empowerment through music. The resulting grounded theory model of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance positions authentic relationships as the active ingredient that makes Girls Rock camps effective worldwide. This model can be used to understand the components of a successful Girls Rock camp and can be adapted to gender-responsive youth programs of any discipline.




This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.