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Reducing Juvenile Recidivism: A Meta-Analysis of Treatment Outcomes

NCJ Number
Heidi R. Tennyson
Date Published
105 pages

This dissertation presents a meta-analysis of interventions that were determined to have had the largest effects on decreasing juvenile recidivism and discusses whether quality of treatment implementation increased treatment efficacy in real-world settings.


The author of this dissertation sought to identify treatments that decrease youthful re-offending through the use of a meta-analytic review of studies carried out between 2003 and 2008. The author’s goal was to update the literature with respect to the current characteristics of treatment for juvenile offenders, and to examine how high levels of treatment integrity in community venues affect treatment efficacy in real-world settings. Other specific goals for the research included determining what treatments are currently available, whether those therapies are effective at decreasing juvenile recidivism, and if effective, identifying which interventions have the strongest outcomes in reducing recidivism rates. The programs analyzed by the author were shown to be effective in reducing juvenile recidivism except for those that focused on discipline, such as boot camps. Results demonstrated that programs offering multiple services were the most effective; interventions with the highest level of treatment integrity had the strongest outcomes; researcher-driven studies had larger effects than community-based programs; and there continues to be a gap between research and practice.