Multisystemic therapy across the lifespan: a 21.9-year follow-up to a randomized clinical trial with serious and violent juvenile offenders
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In this study, we examined the long-term criminal and civil court outcomes of 176 serious and violent juvenile offenders who had participated in either multisystemic therapy (MST) or individual therapy (IT) in a randomized clinical trial (Borduin et al., 1995). Data on criminal arrests, incarceration, and civil court involvement were obtained on average 21.9 years (range 18.3 - 23.8) after treatment completion when participants were on average 37.3 years old. Results showed that MST participants had significantly lower recidivism rates than IT participants for violent crimes (23.2% vs. 39.2%, respectively) and for all felony class crimes (39.5% vs. 58.2%, respectively). Additionally, MST participants were involved in fewer civil court suits related to family instability (e.g., divorces, paternity suits). The present study represents the longest and most comprehensive follow-up to date of a MST clinical trial and suggests that MST is relatively effective in reducing long-term criminal activity among serious and violent juvenile offenders.