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Author Notes:

The authors are grateful to Angi Wold and the research assistants who collected the data.

Steve Shapiro provided data management and Jason Chapman provided statistical consultation.

The fifth author is a paid consultant of MST Services and is part owner of Evidence Based Services, Inc., a MST Network Partner Organization.


Research Funding:

Preparation of this article was funded in part by grant R01 MH068813 from the National Institute of Mental Health.


  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology, Clinical
  • Psychology
  • multisystemic therapy
  • socioeconomic status
  • social context
  • neighborhood
  • parenting

Social Context, Parental Monitoring, and Multisystemic Therapy Outcomes


Journal Title:



Volume 52, Number 1


, Pages 103-110

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Multisystemic therapy (MST) and other evidence-based treatments targeting juvenile delinquency have been well substantiated in the literature. Although these treatments have been demonstrated to be effective overall at reducing juvenile delinquency, it is well known that they do not benefit all treated youth. Research has yet to examine the potential influence of contextual factors, such as socioeconomic status (SES) and neighborhood characteristics, on treatment outcomes, particularly as they influence parental monitoring, which is often a focus of interventions targeting juvenile delinquency. A primary goal of these treatments is to help parents develop the requisite skills to adequately monitor and discipline their children; however, this goal may be compromised by contextual factors affecting parental effectiveness and, ultimately, treatment efficacy. The objective of this study was to explore the role of SES and neighborhood factors in moderating the effects of parental monitoring across treatment. Using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), we analyzed these contextual and family predictors of response to MST treatment within a sample of 185 youth (65.4% male) ages 12-18 (M = 15.35; SD = 1.28). Neighborhood factors interacted with parental monitoring, such that monitoring predicted decreases in externalizing behavior only for youth residing in better neighborhoods. In contrast, SES was unrelated to changes in externalizing behaviors in response to MST. Taken together, these results demonstrate a need for further understanding the potential role of the youth's larger social context in predicting MST outcomes.

Copyright information:

© 2014 American Psychological Association.

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