Within the study, there were extraneous variables of two kinds, subject variables and experimental variables. These variables include gender (though there were not very many girls among the participants, and this variability was not taken to account by the authors); other racial, financial, cultural, language and health statuses also refer here. Nevertheless, the authors admit they did not take to account most of these variables. Further, behavior problems, parental disturbance, problematic family relations, identification with deviant peers and poor school performance have been listed as empirically detected determinants of offense too.
Thus, the research has been conducted efficiently enough to satisfy the interested parties, including not only juvenile offenders and their families, but also sociologists, psychologists and other professionals who take responsibilities for improving social safety and public security. Cost shifting could be evaluated with more details, in correlation with the level of social welfare, mental health, primary care and so on. Then, there could be equality in those who provided treatment, as in case of the MST these were graduate students aged 23-31, while the IT group was guided by therapists from 25 to 33, which means that the IT participants could have received more professional managers or coordinators.
If to evaluate the study objectively, it should be outlined that the great advantage of the current study design is that there has been a long period between pretest and posttest control. Besides, the results have been presented in comparison with another methodology to make the picture clearer and more honest. On the one hand, the design included the study of information available in databases, on the other hand, it was a direct field research of the sampled group. The findings of the test provide much information to use in further research on how to soften or to prevent recidivism among adolescent criminals and how to make them socialized by means of the MST program. Despite insignificant faults the results presented by the authors seem to be quite logical and enough to prove the hypothesis. If to be critical, it seems rational to have used experimental and control groups equal in number of participants, as it would make the outcomes more exact. The authors themselves suppose that there is a need to conduct the appropriate research in other states.
The research has been conducted to test a certain methodology on particular group, meaning juvenile offenders, tested already in the adulthood. Therefore, the findings of the study can be generalized to vast circles of population, but only those involved in violating the law to a certain extent. On the other hand, certain findings can be applied even wider, as they inform how efficient is mental treatment taken in the natural surroundings without expelling communication and with the reliable support of the family. The findings also refer to the overall problems of raising adolescents and give a kind of recommendations for empowering parents with the skills and resources to overcome those problems and to independently address the inevitable difficulties. Apart from that, the authors propose to generalize the research to the entire population of the United States, though it has been restricted to the State of Missouri. However, they have not shown the correlation between some moderating factors, marking them as insignificant for the outcomes. Still, it would be useful to compare the effectiveness of the method in different social groups.
In fact, the current research is only one example of constructive comparison of two similar treatment technologies; although the research has been thorough and careful, it would be beneficial to abstract away from this definite sample and to conduct some more independent study on the same matte, while the appropriate data are available. What is more, it has been recognized that extra research is required to estimate the mechanisms and tools of long-term change in MST. Further on, the study can be replicated and would be beneficial to replicate in other states, maybe randomly sampled, to overcome the dependence of the findings on some geographical and social factors. For replication, the data from police databases (juvenile arrest records), including fingerprints and careful observations are needed as well as availability and willingness of the potential participants.
Later research, first of all, is seen in estimating the cost effectiveness of applying the MST by policy makers and public on the whole. First of all, the public savings claimed by the authors of the current research should be approved. Besides, alternative research to study the effectiveness of MST in terms of interventions for serious juvenile offenders should be conducted.
Schaeffer, Cindy M. & Borduin, Charles M. (2005). Long-Term Follow-Up to a Randomized Clinical Trial of Multisystemic Therapy With Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders [Violence/Victimization]. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(3), 445-453.