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Gang Involvement Moderates the Effectiveness of Evidence-based Intervention for Justice-involved Youth

NCJ Number
Children and Youth Services Review Volume: 52 Dated: May 2015 Pages: 26-33
Paul Boxer; Joanna Kubik; Michael Ostermann; Bonita Veysey
Date Published
May 2015
8 pages
There are no validated, evidence-based intervention approaches to helping youth who are involved in gang activity. The goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of gang involvement on the effectiveness of evidence-based intervention services for problem behavior delivered to youth referred by the justice system.
The study's analyses of treatment success rates for multisystemic therapy (MST) found that gang involvement significantly and substantially reduced the effectiveness of MST in this population. The study analyzed data drawn from 421 youth (69 percent male; M age = 15.08 years, SD = 1.32; 38 percent Black/African-American, 18 percent Latino/a, 34 percent White, 10 percent other) referred consecutively over a 13-month period for Multisystemic Therapy (MST; Henggeler, Schoenwald, Borduin, Rowland, & Cunningham, 2009) across clinical service sites in seven different Eastern States of the United States. Outcomes were indicated by successful or unsuccessful case closures, and gang involvement was indicated by a validated multi-factored classification scheme. Analyses addressed outcomes related to gang involvement for the whole sample as well as a propensity score-matched (PSM) reduced sample. (Publisher abstract modified)