Today the issue of juvenile delinquency is as relevant as ever. In many countries, the crime rates are increasing, and youth occurs to be involved in a range of various malefactions. Such tendency is terrifying, as it means that the lives of many people occur to be negatively affected even before they turn twenty. Moreover, they are not likely to change their lifestyle, so they become criminals soon. Realizing the threat of such situation, a number of researchers paid attention to this issue.
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They conducted researches to find out why the youth get engaged in delinquency, what influences their behavior and how it can be treated. We have selected six articles related to the topic. They investigated the issue in different perspectives but came up to the decision that the best way to treat young offenders is to utilize multisystemic therapy. To evaluate the information provided by the scientists, we will pay our attention to such elements of delinquency prevention as community environment, parenting, and economics.
The study conducted by Dopp, Borduin, Wagner, and Sawyer (2014) focuses on the economic benefits that can be gained by utilizing multisystemic therapy. The researchers maintained cost-benefit analysis focusing on the community. They claimed that this therapy helps to reduce the crime rates. Thus, the taxpayers do not need to cover such great amount of gaps in economics. The need for the representatives of public health care and law decreases and their services are not extra paid.
Moreover, the safety improves, and the number of crime victims reduces. It means that they do not need to pay for the services they would be likely to need being injured or having damaged property. They also paid attention to the family’s benefit, as children’s wrongdoings have a high cost. Still, this article does not pay attention to the expenses needed for the therapy. This gap is filled by the research conducted by Underwood, Dresner, and Phillips (2006), who discussed the community treatment programs. They admitted their high costs but underlined that the results worth them.
As a rule, the people who are willing to help the youth to improve their behavior are their parents. Still, very often they are not able to cope with this issue alone. Thus, they refer to the professional that help them to utilize multisystemic therapy. They learn how to control and monitor their children, how to find a common language with them and enhance relations. Curtis, Heiblum, Ronan, and Crellin (2009) compared different kind of delinquency prevention and came to the conclusion that multisystemic is the best one. After evaluating its effectiveness, they claimed that it helps to improve family relations, reduce recidivism and enhanced school attendance.
However, some parents mention that they felt little improvement in their relations with children according to the study conducted by Tighe, Pistrang, Baruch, Casdagli and Butler (2012). These authors did not stick to their own data; they considered the participants’ ideas and concerns. Of course, they were happy even having such results, but we can see that the multisystemic therapy is not a panacea, and individual approach is still needed to be taken into consideration.
Serious antisocial behavior, which can be observed among the youth, has an adverse effect on the community’s safety. Being engaged in bullying and vandalism, teenagers not only violate social norms but also influence the lives of their families as well as victims negatively. Tiernan, Foster, Brennan, Cunningham and Whitmore (2015) underline that many people who are involved in juvenile delinquency become drug or alcohol addictive. For the multisystemic treatment to be effective, they need to cope with their bad habits and stop contacting with deviant peers.
Changing the environment they used to, teenagers require support and control from their families and mentors. It means that people from the neighborhood and school are to be also involved in streamlining the treatment. Robinson, Winiarski, Cunningham, Foster, and Whitmore (2015) support this idea. They also underline that such approach makes treatment more efficient and provides benefits to society. It is mentioned that the parental monitoring is one of the less effective components of the therapy, so consultations with professionals and reducing interactions with deviant peers from the neighborhood are to be emphasized.
Thus, we can summarize that juvenile delinquency has an adverse effect on the families and society. It affects economic state, relations with parents and people around. Among the possible treatments multisystemic therapy is considered to be the best one. It concentrates on the individual, one’s behavior and relations with others. Parental monitoring is not really helpful, and more attention is to be paid to the rest of components. Thus, the youth is to consult professionals and change the circle of contacts to gain positive outcomes.
The conclusion can be made from the analyzed articles that the multisystemic therapy presupposes the involvement of community and family into the process of treatment to influence the behavior of young people in a positive way. They considered the issue in different perspectives (costs, relationships, general outcomes, individuals, and society) but the same conclusion was made, which underlines its veracity.
Curtis, N., Heiblum, N., Ronan, K., & Crellin, K. (2009). Dissemination and effectiveness of multisystemic treatment in New Zealand. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(2), 119-129.
Dopp, A., Borduin, C., Wagner, D., & Sawyer, A. (2014). The economic impact of multisystemic therapy through midlife: A benefit analysis with serious juvenile offenders and their siblings. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(4), 694-705.
Robinson, B., Winiarski, A., Cunningham, P., Foster, S., & Whitmore, E. (2015). Social context, parental monitoring, and multisystemic therapy outcomes. Psychotherapy, 52(1), 103-110.
Tiernan, K., Foster, S., Brennan, P., Cunningham, P., & Whitmore, E. (2015). Predicting early positive change in multisystemic therapy with youth exhibiting antisocial behaviors. Psychotherapy, 52(1), 93-102.
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Tighe, A., Pistrang, N., Baruch, G., Casdagli, L., & Butler, S. (2012). Multisystemic treatment for young offenders: Families’ experiences of therapeutic processes and outcomes. Journal of Family Psychology, 26(2), 187-97.
Underwood, L., Dresner, K., & Phillips, A. (2006). Community treatment programs for juveniles: A best-evidence summary. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 2(2), 286-304.