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Systemic Therapy for At Risk Teens (START)

There is an urgent need for clinically effective and cost-effective methods to manage antisocial and criminal behaviour in adolescents.

Youth Conduct Disorder is increasingly prevalent in the UK and is associated with a range of negative outcomes.

Quantitative systematic reviews carried out for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence have identified multisystemic therapy (MST), an intensive, multimodal, home-based, family intervention for youth with serious antisocial behaviour, as one of the most promising interventions for reducing antisocial or offending behaviour and improving individual and family functioning.

Previous international trials of MST have yielded mixed outcomes, and it is questionable to what extent positive US findings can be generalised to a wider UK mental health and juvenile justice context. The Systemic Therapy for At Risk Teens (START) trial is a multicentre UK-wide randomised controlled trial of multisystemic therapy (MST), as a treatment for young people and their families who are experiencing difficulties at home, at school and sometimes with the law.