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Four-Year Follow-Up of Multisystemic Therapy with Substance-Abusing and Substance-Dependent Juvenile Offenders

NCJ Number
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Volume: 41 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2002 Pages: 868-874
Date Published
July 2002
7 pages

This study examined the 4-year outcomes of an evidence-based treatment (Multisystemic Therapy) of substance-abusing juvenile offenders.


Even though several family-based treatments have produced promising short-term results, the effects have not extended beyond 12-month follow-up assessments. This study examined the 4-year outcomes of an evidence-based treatment, Multisystemic Therapy (MST). Eighty of the 118 substance-abusing juvenile offenders who had participated in a randomized clinical trial comparing MST with usual community services in the mid-1990's participated in this 4-year follow-up study. The assessment battery used multiple measures and methods to examine long-term outcomes for MST regarding criminal behavior, substance use, and psychiatric symptoms. MST was associated with significant long-term reductions in aggressive criminal behavior. Findings regarding long-term reductions in illicit drug use were mixed. Treatment effects for psychiatric symptoms were not observed. In summary, the study presented some evidence that scientifically based family-oriented treatment could produce favorable long-term reductions in the antisocial behavior of substance-abusing juvenile offenders. Findings support the use of evidence-based, family-oriented treatment for substance-abusing youths. A significant study limitation was that only 68 percent of the original sample was assessed at the 4-year follow-up. References

Date Published: July 1, 2002