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How do we know that MST works?

How do we know that MST works?


Several randomised and quasi-experimental studies of MST have been conducted in the USA, in Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas, and others are now underway, including the first randomised controlled trial of MST in the UK run by the Brandon Centre in partnership with Camden and Haringey Youth Offending Services.


MST has been demonstrated to reduce rates of criminal activity (officially recorded and self-reported) and institutionalisation. The MST approach is also successful at engaging and retaining families in treatment and encouraging completion of substance abuse programming. It can result in improvements in family functioning and cohesion. These results are notable in a field where successes are few and far between but especially remarkable because MST has been effective in inner city urban areas, Therefore, any differences between them can be linked unambiguously to the MST intervention. In short, the control group helps us rule out other possible explanations for observed changes (eg they grew out of the behaviour, only treatment-amenable young people received MST, etc). It also allows a basis of understanding what probably would have happened to these young people if they had not had MST.

 

Does MST work with older teens?

Some have asked if the MST approach is as effective with young offenders over 15. Reference to the USA research indicates that successful outcomes are achieved and maintained for young people of all demographic categories, both male and female, and young people of all ages.