Biosocial processes predicting multisystemic therapy treatment response

Biol Psychol. 2013 Feb;92(2):373-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.12.002. Epub 2012 Dec 12.


This study examined biological (testosterone) and social (deviant peer affiliation) factors early in treatment as predictors of treatment outcome among adolescent boys receiving Multisystemic Therapy (MST) in community settings. Outcome variables included changes in youth aggression and delinquency as reported by the primary caregiver. Testosterone and deviant peer affiliation were assessed at treatment onset; and outcome variables (aggression and delinquency) were assessed at treatment onset, mid-treatment and end-of-treatment. Participants were 112 adolescent boys (M age=15.42, SD=1.31) and their caregivers. Growth curve analyses revealed that the combination of high testosterone and high deviant peer affiliation early in treatment were significantly associated with less of a decline in aggression and delinquency over the course of treatment. Results provide novel evidence for the role of testosterone in the prediction of future externalizing behaviors. Clinical and theoretical implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development
  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Body Weight
  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology*
  • Juvenile Delinquency / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Peer Group*
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Testosterone / metabolism*
  • Time Factors


  • Testosterone