Do Extremely Violent Juveniles Respond Differently to Treatment?

Jessica J. Asscher*, M. Deković, Alithe L. Van den Akker, Pier J.M. Prins, Peter H. Van der Laan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study increases knowledge on effectiveness of treatment for extremely violent (EV) youth by investigating their response to multisystemic therapy (MST). Using data of a randomized controlled trial on effectiveness of MST, we investigated differences in treatment response between EV youth and not extremely violent (NEV) youth. Pre- to post-treatment comparison indicated MST was equally effective for EV and NEV youth, whereas treatment as usual was not effective for either group. Growth curves of within-treatment changes indicated EV youth responded differently to MST than NEV youth. The within-treatment change was for EV youth non-linear: Initially, they show a deterioration; however, after one month, EV juveniles respond positively to MST, indicating longer lasting, intensive programs may be effective in treating extreme violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-977
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number4
Early online date27 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • externalizing behavior problems
  • extremely violent (EV) juvenile delinquents
  • multisystemic therapy (MST)
  • parent–adolescent relationship quality
  • treatment response


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