Criminality, thinking patterns and treatment effects – evaluation of the Swedish cognitive intervention programme ‘new challenges’ targeting adult men with a criminal lifestyle [2018]

The cognitive intervention programme ‘New Challenges’ targeting adult men with a criminal lifestyle was evaluated in a pilot study. The participants were divided into a cognitive treatment group (n = 32) and a control group (n = 11). In the control group, six participants had no treatment and five participated in 12-step treatment. The participants were measured pre and post using the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS), the abridged version of sense of coherence (SOC), Positive and Negative Affect Scale, and Bergström’s quality of programme delivery (QPD). The results of the treatment group showed that criminal thinking patterns dropped significantly from high values to close to normal level. SOC and positive affect increased significantly in the treatment group. Both SOC and positive affect showed positive correlation with QPD. Regarding the possible influence of the 12-step treatment, there was no difference in the control group between participants receiving 12-step treatment and those not receiving treatment. The main conclusion is that the cognitive treatment programme ‘New Challenges’ can contribute to reduced criminal thinking and increased SOC and positive affect, which may prove to be important precursors of reduced criminality.

Sophia Lindblom, Lars Eriksson & Arto J. Hiltunen

Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, 12 Sep 2018