- Social skills training for juvenile delinquents
- Post-treatment changes
- Journal of Experimental Criminology
- Volume | Issue number
- 12 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
To examine the post-treatment effectiveness of an outpatient, individual social skills training for juvenile delinquents in the Netherlands and to conduct moderator tests for age, gender, ethnicity, and risk of reoffending.
The sample consisted of juveniles who received Tools4U, a social skills training with a parental component, as a penal sanction (N = 115). Propensity score matching was used to select a control group of juveniles receiving treatment as usual (TAU) of n = 108 juveniles (of a total of N = 354). Assessment of impulsivity, social perspective-taking, social problem-solving, critical reasoning, developmental task-related skills, and treatment integrity took place before and immediately after the treatment.
Treatment integrity was found to be sufficient, so that treatment effects could be attributed to the Tools4U training. Tools4U was more effective than TAU in reducing impulsivity, cognitive distortions (self-centering and assuming the worst), and social perspective-taking deficits (hostile intent attribution). No treatment effects were found on adolescents’ social problem-solving skills, and only caretakers of girls showed improvement in parenting skills. Effects on developmental task-related skills were not in the expected direction: after Tools4U, juveniles reported significantly less social acceptance and self-worth than juveniles receiving TAU.
Tools4U showed generally small effects and no effects on protective factors, which might limit the long-term treatment effects on delinquency. Treatment effects may be improved by implementing additional techniques and improving the parental component for boys in particular.
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