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Multisystemic therapy compared with management as usual for adolescents at risk of offending: the START II RCT

Fonagy, P; Butler, S; Cottrell, D; Scott, S; Pilling, S; Eisler, I; Fuggle, P; ... Goodyer, IM; + view all (2020) Multisystemic therapy compared with management as usual for adolescents at risk of offending: the START II RCT. Health Services and Delivery Research , 8 (23) pp. 1-114. 10.3310/hsdr08230. Green open access

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Abstract

Background The Systemic Therapy for At Risk Teens (START) trial is a randomised controlled trial of multisystemic therapy (MST) compared with management as usual (MAU). The present study reports on long-term follow-up of the trial (to 60 months). Objectives The primary objective was to compare MST and MAU for the proportion of young people in each group with criminal convictions up to 60 months post baseline. Secondary outcomes included group comparisons of psychological and behavioural factors. An economic analysis was carried out to determine the cost-effectiveness of MST compared with MAU. Two qualitative studies were conducted to better understand the subjective experiences of the participants. Design Primary outcomes (collected up to 60 months) were collected using a centralised police database. Secondary outcomes were evaluated using self-report questionnaires completed by both young people and parents or carers at the 24-, 36- and 48-month follow-ups. Research assistants were blind to treatment allocation. Setting Participants were recruited from participating MST sites in nine areas of England. Secondary outcomes were typically collected within the family home. Participants A total of 684 families were recruited into the START trial and allocated randomly to a treatment group. Of these, 487 remained in the second phase of the trial. Young people were aged, on average, 13.8 years at baseline, with 63% male and 37% female. Interventions MST is a manualised programme for young people exhibiting antisocial behaviour and their families that uses principles from cognitive–behavioural and family therapy to provide an individualised approach. MAU content was not prespecified, but consisted of the standard care offered to young people who met eligibility for the trial. Main outcome measures Young people’s offending was evaluated using the Police National Computer. Secondary measures included validated self-report measures completed by both the young person and their parent or carer. The economic evaluation took a broad perspective and outcomes were assessed in terms of quality-adjusted life-years and offending. Results No significant differences were found in the proportion of offending between the groups (hazard ratio 1.03, 95% confidence interval 0.84 to 1.26; p = 0.78). No differences were found between the groups on secondary outcome measures, with a few exceptions that did not hold up consistently across the follow-up period. The economic analysis did not find evidence to support the cost-effectiveness of MST compared with MAU. Outcomes from the qualitative studies suggest that families mostly felt positive about MST, and that MST was associated with greater maturity in young men. Limitations Some intended evaluations were not possible to deliver. Selective attrition may have influenced the nature of the sample size. It is also unclear how representative the MAU services were of reality. Future research Recommendations are made for the evaluation of MST in populations with more severe behavioural problems, as well as for identifying and testing new moderators. Conclusions The results of the second phase of the START trial do not support the long-term superiority of MST to MAU, but elements of the intervention may be adapted successfully. Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN77132214 and London South-East REC registration number 09/H1102/55. Funding This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research programme and will be published in full in Health Services and Delivery Research; Vol. 8, No. 23. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

Type: Article
Title: Multisystemic therapy compared with management as usual for adolescents at risk of offending: the START II RCT
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3310/hsdr08230
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3310/hsdr08230
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100420
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