A Systematic Review of the Literature on the Use of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in Criminal Justice Work to Reduce Re-offending

  • Mia Debidin
  • Windy Dryden
Original Article


A systematic review of the published literature from 1995 to 2007 considers the published evidence on the use of interventions employing Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy in criminal justice efforts to reduce re-offending. Thirty-six studies are briefly described, summarised and appraised for research quality using a six point scale. Twenty-four studies were excluded from further analysis due to insufficiently rigorous or weak research design and method. Twelve studies were appraised as sufficiently robust to reliably inform the research interest. Further analysis of the studies indicated an association between negative emotional states and offending behaviour, some evidence of REBT effectiveness in treating emotional disturbance in offender populations, and mixed evidence of REBT effectiveness in reducing re-offending. It is concluded that interventions using REBT might be a promising approach for aiding criminal justice aims to reduce re-offending.


Systematic review Criminal justice Re-offending REBT 



With thanks to colleague Debra Dhillon for time given to the task of independently rating the studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ministry of JusticeLondonUK
  2. 2.Goldsmiths University of LondonLondonUK

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