Research Supported Treatment

Everything we do at Summerland Camps is based on peer-reviewed research into what works for behavioral change. We seek to build the intrinsic motivation of every camper we serve.

Often parents contact us at Summerland camps because of a concern for the amount of time their child spends playing video games or other various screen based activities.  Adolescents tend to be poor at tracking time without their parent’s assistance.  When a parents then asks the child to get off the game, a verbal argument ensues.  We hear this same situation over and over from parents we help.

It’s imperative that as parents we do everything we can to prepare our kids for the unstructured nature of college.  Research shows us that 40% of college students will leave higher education without getting a degree (Porter, 1990) and 75% of these students will leave in their first two years of college (Tinto, 1987).

A study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that time management practices were significant predictors of cumulative GPA and accounted for more variance in grades than did SAT scores.  So we therefore know that teaching time management skills is critical for their college success.  If our children come to depend on us to tell them to turn off their games, we are setting them up for failure in college.  Teaching our campers to self-regulate their screen activities and transferring this skill back home is the purpose of the camp.

Another study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that a student’s ability to organize, execute, and regulate performance along with optimism were strongly related to performance and adjustment, both directly on academic performance and indirectly through expectations and coping perceptions (challenge-threat evaluations) on classroom performance, stress, health, and overall satisfaction and commitment to remain in school.  We also know through brain imaging studies that excessive video game playing results in structural changes to young developing brains. 

We also know though research studies how critical is it to support your child in after services (also called, “continuing care”) after they have made the commitment for change.  In one study on the effectiveness of aftercare services, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Betty Ford Foundation looked at all professional continuing care services and the effect on substance abuse treatment.  All forms of aftercare were significantly associated with abstinence over and above individual factors ranging from 1.3 to 3.2 times greater outcomes.

As parents we must do everything we can to send out children off to college with the mental framework needed to organize and execute the daily behaviors needed for college success.  This means helping our children organize their time and execute the behaviors needed to succeed.  If your child is currently paying 5 hours or more of video games per day, only stopping when you intervene- who likely can we expect them to succeed in college?


Academic self-efficacy and first year college student performance and adjustment.
Chemers, Martin M.; Hu, Li-tze; Garcia, Ben F.
Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 93(1), Mar 2001, 55-64.

Effects of time-management practices on college grades.
Britton, Bruce K.; Tesser, Abraham
Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 83(3), Sep 1991, 405-410.