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THIRTY-YEAR FOLLOW-UP OF TREATMENT EFFECTS (FROM CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW YEARBOOK, VOLUME 1, 1979, BY SHELDON L MESSINGER AND EGON BITTNER - SEE NCJ-60767)

NCJ Number
60777
Author(s)
J MCCORD
Date Published
1979
Length
6 pages
Annotation
METHODOLOGY AND RESULTS ARE REPORTED FROM A STUDY OF OVER 500 MEN, HALF OF WHOM HAD BEEN RANDOMLY ASSIGNED TO A 5-YEAR TREATMENT PROGRAM, TO DETERMINE LIFE CONDITIONS 30 YEARS AFTER THE TREATMENT PROJECT.
Abstract
SEVERAL HUNDRED BOYS FROM DENSELY POPULATED, FACTORY-DOMINATED AREAS OF EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS WERE INCLUDED IN A 1939 PROJECT KNOWN AS THE CAMBRIDGE-SOMERVILLE YOUTH STUDY THAT LASTED FOR 5 YEARS. THE MEDIAN AGE OF THE PARTICIPANTS WAS 10.5. THOSE RECEIVING TREATMENT HAD (IN VARYING DEGREES) BEEN TUTORED, PROVIDED MEDICAL TREATMENT, AND GIVEN FRIENDLY COUNSEL. THE PRESENT STUDY COMPARES THE 253 MEN IN THE TREATMENT PROGRAM AFTER 1942 WITH 253 'MATCHED MATES' WHO HAD BEEN ASSIGNED TO A CONTROL GROUP (PARTICIPATING BY PROVIDING INFORMATION ABOUT THEMSELVES). OFFICIAL RECORDS AND PERSONAL CONTACTS WERE USED TO OBTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF THE PROJECT. IN 1975 AND 1976, THE 506 FORMER MEMBERS OF THE PROGRAM WERE TRACED THROUGH COURT RECORDS, MENTAL HOSPITAL RECORDS, RECORDS FROM ALCOHOLIC TREATMENT CENTERS, AND STATE VITAL STATISTICS. TELEPHONE CALLS, CITY DIRECTORIES, MOTOR-VEHICLE REGISTRATIONS, MARRIAGE AND DEATH RECORDS, AND OTHER MEANS WERE USED TO LOCATE 480 OF THE 506 MEN (95 PERCENT). QUESTIONNAIRES WERE MAILED TO 208 MEN FROM THE TREATMENT GROUP AND 202 MEN FROM THE CONTROL GROUP, WITH RESPONSES RECEIVED FROM 113 MEN IN THE TREATMENT GROUP AND 122 MEN IN THE CONTROL GROUP. ALTHOUGH SUBJECTIVE EVALUATIONS OF THE PROGRAM BY THOSE IN IT SUGGEST THAT THE INTERVENTION HAD BEEN HELPFUL, COMPARISONS BETWEEN THE TREATMENT AND CONTROL GROUPS INDICATE THAT THE PROGRAM HAD NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS AS MEASURED BY CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR, DEATH, DISEASE, OCCUPATIONAL STATUS, AND JOB SATISFACTION. POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS OF THESE FINDINGS INCLUDE THE THEORY THAT INTERACTION WITH ADULTS WHOSE VALUES ARE DIFFERENT FROM THOSE OF THE FAMILY MILIEU MAY PRODUCE LATE INTERNAL CONFLICTS THAT MANIFEST THEMSELVES IN DISEASE OR DISSATISFACTION. AGENCY INTERVENTION MAY CREATE DEPENDENCY UPON OTHERS WHICH BECOMES DEBILITATING WHEN IMMEDIATE EMOTIONAL SUPPORTS ARE REMOVED. TO AVOID THE CONSEQUENCES EVIDENCED IN THIS STUDY, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT TREATMENT PROJECTS BE PILOT-TESTED TO DETERMINE IF THEY ARE PREPARING PARTICIPANTS TO ADJUST TO THE WORLD BEYOND THE TREATMENT MILIEU. TABULAR DATA AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (RCB)