Youth Violence Interventions

Marital and Family Therapy

Many problems with juvenile behavior can be traced to family discord, maladaptive parenting styles, and poor communication. Family therapy (i.e., working with multiple members of a family as a group) is costly, but there is evidence that it works. Two meta-analyses of family therapy programs suggest that this approach can produce moderate improvement in family functioning and reduce child behavioral problems (Shadish 1992, Hazelrigg 1987). A randomized trial of several family-centered approaches to juvenile delinquency administered by the Salt Lake County juvenile court found that behavioral family therapy produced better results than other strategies or no treatment at all (Klein 1977). A pilot program administered by the Juvenile Court of Fulton County, GA, has shown promising results, but it needs further evaluation. All in all, family therapy appears to be a costly-but-effective approach to preventing juvenile delinquency (Howell and Bilchik 1995).