This study increases knowledge on effectiveness of treatment for extremely violent (EV) youth by investigating their response to multisystemic therapy (MST). Using data of a randomized controlled trial on effectiveness of MST, we investigated differences in treatment response between EV youth and not extremely violent (NEV) youth. Pre- to post-treatment comparison indicated MST was equally effective for EV and NEV youth, whereas treatment as usual was not effective for either group. Growth curves of within-treatment changes indicated EV youth responded differently to MST than NEV youth. The within-treatment change was for EV youth non-linear: Initially, they show a deterioration; however, after one month, EV juveniles respond positively to MST, indicating longer lasting, intensive programs may be effective in treating extreme violence.

Jessica J. Asscher, M. Deković, Alithe L. Van den Akker, Pier J. M. Prins, Peter H. Van der Laan
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, October 27, 2016