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Evaluating the Impact of Two Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Programs on Recidivism in Chronic Juvenile Offenders

  • Author(s): Gerchow, Christine
  • Advisor(s): Worrell, Frank C
  • et al.
Abstract

The goal of the present study was to examine the effect of two cognitive behavioral therapy programs on recidivism in a sample of chronic youthful offenders (N = 156) and to evaluate the relationship between commonly identified recidivism risk factors (i.e., prior criminal charges, parental history of criminal behavior, gang involvement, mental health diagnoses, and number of probation violations) and re-offending. All participants were male, 19 to 23 years of age, and were currently, or had been, under the supervision of a Western state’s county probation department. Participants were court-mandated to take either Aggression Replacement Training (ART, n = 90) or ART and Thinking for Change (T4C, n = 66). Survival analyses controlling for different custody release dates indicated that ART+T4C participants demonstrated lower recidivism rates than ART-only participants. The difference was first clearly depicted around Day 300 post-release when approximately 45% of ART-only participants had been arrested compared to 35% of ART+T4C participants. The difference became more apparent by day 500 when 80% of ART-only participants had been arrested compared to 40% of ART+T4C participants. The data provide a statistically significant defense that ART+T4C treatment participants are likely to remain in the community longer without re-arrest than ART-only participants. Regarding recidivism risk factors, a Kaplan Meier survival curve indicated that mental health diagnoses, history of parental arrest, gang involvement, felony, violent and weapons charges, and probation violations did not predict faster time to arrest. Interestingly, the Kaplan Meier analysis indicated that non-violent charges pre-treatment predicted post-treatment re-offending.

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