Multisystemic therapy for juvenile sexual offenders: 1-year results from a randomized effectiveness trial

J Fam Psychol. 2009 Feb;23(1):89-102. doi: 10.1037/a0014352.


Despite the serious and costly problems presented by juvenile sexual offenders, rigorous tests of promising interventions have rarely been conducted. This study presents a community-based effectiveness trial comparing multisystemic therapy (MST) adapted for juvenile sexual offenders with services that are typical of those provided to juvenile sexual offenders in the United States. Youth were randomized to MST (n = 67) or treatment as usual for juvenile sexual offenders (TAU-JSO; n = 60). Outcomes through 12 months postrecruitment were assessed for problem sexual behavior, delinquency, substance use, mental health functioning, and out-of-home placements. Relative to youth who received TAU-JSO, youth in the MST condition evidenced significant reductions in sexual behavior problems, delinquency, substance use, externalizing symptoms, and out-of-home placements. The findings suggest that family- and community-based interventions, especially those with an established evidence-base in treating adolescent antisocial behavior, hold considerable promise in meeting the clinical needs of juvenile sexual offenders.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Paraphilic Disorders / therapy*
  • Sex Offenses / prevention & control*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome