An Evaluation of a Group Intervention for the Parents of Youth Offenders
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Youth offending is an issue that receives attention at many levels, and which crosses the already broad domains of justice, education, mental health and social services. The role of parents in the development of antisocial behaviour, and their responsibilities with regard to addressing the consequences of this, are controversial. This article reviews a selection of interventions for managing teenage behaviour, and specifically criminal offending. A trend emerges from this review whereby the most effective treatments for young offenders are those that achieve change within the family system, not just the young person. The current study examined the effect of implementing Group Teen Triple P, one of a suite of well established and effective behavioural parent training programmes, with the parents of teenagers who had been recently involved in offending. The group was a collaborative partnership between Presbyterian Support, a non-government organization, and Child, Youth and Family Services, the national, statutory provider of care and protection and youth justice services. The six participating families had previously been involved with one or both of these agencies. Participants completed questionnaires and interviews at three data collection points, and the researcher also took part in aspects of the intervention. The results indicate positive changes within some of the participating families, but are inconsistent due to the drop-out rate and the reluctance of participating parents to consistently implement the skills and strategies learned. This unexpected but nevertheless important finding necessitated further consideration of the reasons why it occurred, and these are discussed in the context of earlier research into variables which influence attendance and adherence to parent training interventions. This study offers insights into the provision of behavioural parent training programmes with vulnerable, fragile or high-risk families.