Reducing Recidivism and Symptoms in Emerging Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions and Justice System Involvement

  • Maryann DavisEmail author
  • Ashli J. Sheidow
  • Michael R. McCart


The peak years of offending in the general population and among those with serious mental health conditions (SMHC) are during emerging adulthood. There currently are no evidence-based interventions for reducing offending behavior among 18–21 year olds, with or without SMHC. This open trial examined outcomes from an adaptation of Multisystemic Therapy (MST), an effective juvenile recidivism reduction intervention, modified for use with emerging adults with SMHC and recent justice system involvement. MST for emerging adults (MST-EA) targets MH symptoms, recidivism, problem substance use, and young adult functional capacities. All study participants (n = 41) were aged 17–20 and had a MH diagnosis and recent arrest or incarceration. Implementation outcomes indicated that MST-EA was delivered with strong fidelity, client satisfaction was high, and the majority of participants successfully completed the intervention. Research retention rates also were high. Pre–post-analyses revealed significant reductions in participants’ MH symptoms, justice system involvement, and associations with antisocial peers.


Mental Health Condition Clinical Supervisor Social Network Member Vocational Rehabilitation Service Rehabilitation Agency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (R34MH081374) and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (H133B090018) to Dr. Davis. Content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of these agencies. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and North American Family Institute, as well as advice from Drs. Mary Evans, Scott Henggeler, Charles Lidz, and Edward Mulvey. We also thank the young adults and their social network members who made this research possible.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.


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Copyright information

© National Council for Behavioral Health 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maryann Davis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ashli J. Sheidow
    • 2
  • Michael R. McCart
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood, Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Family Services Research Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Department of PediatricsMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA

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