An Evaluation of Mechanisms of Change in Multisystemic Therapy for Juvenile Justice-Involved Youths A Decade Following Treatment

Kaitlin M. Sheerin, Charles M. Borduin, Cynthia E. Brown, Elizabeth J. Letourneau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although researchers have identified the more immediate mechanisms of change in family-based treatments for juvenile justice-involved youths, it is not known whether these same mechanisms continue to prevent criminal offending into adulthood. The present study evaluated whether caregiver-directed improvements in family relations, youth prosocial peer relations, and youth academic performance during multisystemic therapy (MST) for serious and violent juvenile offenders had an impact on young adult involvement in criminal activity and sentencing 10.2 years following treatment. The results showed that improvements in family relations were associated with reduced odds of criminal outcomes a decade later for former MST participants. Furthermore, improvements in youth prosocial peer relations and academic performance were also related to lower odds of long-term criminal activity. These results are consistent with the underlying theory of change in family-based treatments and demonstrate that caregivers are critical to achieving and sustaining decreased antisocial behavior for youths with serious and violent criminal histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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