Two-Year Follow-up of a Randomized Effectiveness Trial Evaluating MST for Juveniles Who Sexually Offend
journal contributionposted on 09.09.2014 by Elizabeth J. Letourneau, Scott W. Henggeler, Michael R. McCart, Charles M. Borduin, Paul A. Schewe, Kevin S. Armstrong
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Objective: Building on prior efficacy trials (i.e., university based, graduate students as therapists), the primary purpose of this study was to determine whether favorable 12-month outcomes obtained in a randomized effectiveness trial (i.e., implemented by practitioners in a community mental health center) of multisystemic therapy (MST) with juveniles who had sexually offended (JSO) were sustained through a second year of follow-up. Method: JSO (n = 124 male youth) and their families were randomly assigned to MST, which was family based and delivered by community-based practitioners, or to treatment as usual (TAU), which was primarily group-based cognitive-behavioral interventions delivered by professionals within the juvenile justice system. Youth averaged 14.7 (SD = 1.7) years of age at referral, were primarily African American (54%), and 30% were Hispanic. All youth had been diverted or adjudicated for a sexual offense. Analyses examined whether MST effects reported previously at 1-year follow-up for problem sexual behaviors, delinquency, substance use, and out-of-home placement were sustained through a second year of follow-up. In addition, arrest records were examined from baseline through 2-year follow-up. Results: During the second year of follow-up, MST treatment effects were sustained for three of four measures of youth problem sexual behavior, self-reported delinquency, and out-of-home placements. The base rate for sexual offense rearrests was too low to conduct statistical analyses, and a between-groups difference did not emerge for other criminal arrests. Conclusions: For the most part, the 2-year follow-up findings from this effectiveness study are consistent with favorable MST long-term results with JSO in efficacy research. In contrast with many MST trials, however, decreases in rearrests were not observed.