A tailored cognitive behavioral program for juvenile justice-referred females at risk of substance use and delinquency: A pilot quasi-experimental trial [2019]

This pilot quasi-experimental trial tested a gender-responsive cognitive behavioral group intervention with 87 court-involved female adolescents (5 juvenile courts) who were at indicated risk for substance use disorder. Participants in the intervention (n = 57) received twice weekly group sessions for 10 weeks (20 sessions) focused on building emotional, thought and behavior regulation skills and generalizing these skills to relationally-based scenarios (GOAL: Girls Only Active Learning). Youth in the control condition (n = 30) received services as usual, which included non-gender-specific aggression management training, individual counseling and no services. The GOAL program was found to be acceptable to youth and parents and feasible to implement within a juvenile court setting using skilled facilitators. Compared to services as usual, the program significantly and meaningfully reduced self-reported delinquent behavior (β = 0.84, p < 0.05) over 6 months, and exhibited trend level effects for reduced substance use (β = 0.40, p = 0.07). The program had mixed or no effects on family conflict and emotion regulation skills. These findings are discussed in light of treatment mechanisms and gender-responsive services.

Sarah C. Walker, Mylien Duong, Christopher Hayes, Lucy Berliner, Leslie D. Leve, David C. Atkins, Jerald R. Herting, Asia S. Bishop, Esteban Valencia
PLOS ONE, November 7, 2019
DOI
Website