Treatment adherence and recidivism
Stoddard, Jennifer Lind
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This study examined factors related to treatment adherence and investigated the extent to which the completion of a multiple family group intervention program reduced recidivism among a sample of juvenile first time offenders. The serious impact of juvenile delinquency in the United States was reviewed, as were intervention efforts to prevent and reduce the occurrence of juvenile crime. Juvenile delinquency continues to be a pervasive problem in the United States. Implications of this national concern include school drop out, early incarceration, increased likelihood of alcohol and other drug addictions, educational failure, negative peer interactions, and the onset of adult crime. Data trends indicate that juvenile arrests for violent crime will double by the year 2010. It is becoming clear that family and community factors play a significant role in influencing delinquent behavior. Recognizing the important contribution of the family to reducing juvenile crime, interventions for first time juvenile offenders range from individual to multiple family based and have varying rates of efficacy. The Family Solutions Program (FSP) is a multiple family group (MFG) therapy intervention that brings together first time juvenile offenders and their caregivers in an effort to reduce the likelihood of repeat offenses and to improve the ecology of the family system. Results of this study indicated that the number of sessions attended was associated with likelihood of reoffending, in that greater exposure to the intervention reduced number of reoffenses. The overall effect of the program on reducing recidivism was not statistically significantly different between those youth who graduated and those who dropped out of the program. Reported levels of family functioning were not significantly associated with likelihood of successfully completing the program in youth or their parents. Overall family functioning was not significantly improved upon completion of the intervention as measured by one instrument. Associations were found, however, between youth and parent reports of the level of family functioning within the family during the intake process and again upon completion of the program. There are certain variables that are associated with the number of sessions attended by the youth and parents in this sample. Families with higher annual household income attended more sessions than those with lower household income, youth in higher grades attended more sessions than younger adolescents, and youth who were suspended fewer times from school attended more sessions of this MFG intervention. Hence, although the overall effect of the program did not reach statistical significance with respect to reducing recidivism in this sample of first time juvenile offenders, results indicate that exposure to the program does reduce future criminal activity. Clinical and research implicationsare discussed, along with suggestions for future research.