What works for whom? Gender differences in intake characteristics and treatment outcomes following Multisystemic Therapy

J Adolesc. 2009 Dec;32(6):1425-35. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2009.06.006. Epub 2009 Jul 19.


Aims of the study: We investigated whether girls and boys had similar referral symptoms and background characteristics at intake to Multisystemic Therapy (MST) and whether adolescent girls with serious behavior problems benefited as much from MST treatment as did boys. We also examined gender differences in rate of co-morbidity at intake and whether the families of boys and girls referred to MST differed in their evaluation of the treatment received.

Method: Participants were 117 Norwegian adolescent girls (35%) and boys (65%), ranging in age from 12 to 17 (M=14.58), referred to MST treatment in the first and second year of the program operation.

Results: Gender differences appeared for some referral reasons, intake characteristics and treatment changes, but the similarities between girls and boys far outnumbered their differences.

Conclusions: Although girls may present a somewhat different problem profile than do boys and their risk factors for developing conduct problems may be somewhat different, MST seemed flexible and robust enough to be effective for most adolescents in the present sample, regardless of gender.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Conduct Disorder / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Behavior Disorders / therapy*