Predicting Early Positive Change in Multisystemic Therapy With Youth Exhibiting Antisocial Behaviorsedit
This study examined individual and family characteristics that predicted early positive change in the context of Multisystemic Therapy (MST). Families (n = 185; 65% male; average youth age 15 years) receiving MST in community settings completed assessments at the outset of treatment and 6-12 weeks into treatment. Early positive changes in youth antisocial behavior were assessed using the caregiver report on the Child Behavior Checklist Externalizing Behaviors subscale and youth report on the Self-Report Delinquency Scale. Overall, families showed significant positive changes by 6-12 weeks into treatment; these early changes were maintained into midtreatment 6-12 weeks later. Families who exhibited clinically significant gains early in treatment were more likely to terminate treatment successfully compared with those who did not show these gains. Low youth internalizing behaviors and absence of youth drug use predicted early positive changes in MST. High levels of parental monitoring and low levels of affiliation with deviant peers (mechanisms known to be associated with MST success) were also associated with early positive change.