What are the outcomes of FFT? What are the outcomes of MST?

Outcome assessment in FFT and in MST focuses on the “ultimate outcomes” of keeping youth at home, in school, and out of trouble with the law, and “instrumental outcomes” such as improved family relationships, improved parenting skills, involvement with prosocial peers, and increases in the family’s social support network. Research suggests that these instrumental outcomes contribute to the ultimate outcomes.

FFT has been developed and tested for almost 50 years, with 44 published studies documenting the development, implementation, and outcomes supporting the FFT model. FFT has been shown to be highly effective across all levels of risk, including 12 evaluations in the past 10 years with more than 14,000 youth and their families.

MST has been studied for over 40 years with 67 published outcomes, implementation, and benchmarking studies. MST is the only intervention for high risk youth where results have been repeatedly replicated by independent research. To date the research on MST has involved over 55,000 families.

Research shows that both treatment models achieve the following short-term (immediate) outcomes: greater likelihood the youth remains at home, improved family functioning, reduced substance use, and fewer youth mental health symptoms and/or behavior problems.

In-session research studies of the FFT model have informed the development of specific evidence-based strategies for addressing youth and family factors that have been shown to be associated with failure to engage or complete treatment. FFT has also been shown to weaken the link between callous-unemotional traits and negative outcomes.

Research on MST has also found improved peer relations, improved school performance, and increased likelihood that the youth will attend school.
In the long-term, both models have been shown to reduce criminal recidivism and arrest rates, decrease substance use, and decrease behavioral health problems.

The longest follow-up studies have been at 5 years for FFT and 25 years for MST.

Research has also shown that the younger siblings of youth who participate in FFT are less likely to have contact with the court 2 ½ - 3 ½ years later.
For MST, a 25-year follow up study demonstrated a 40-percent reduction in the nearest age sibling’s overall arrest rates and a 55-percent reduction in felony arrest rates as compared to individual therapy siblings, who had a 3.36 times higher arrest rate for any crime.

Outcomes specific to Pennsylvania as well as logic models highlighting key research findings are available at the EPIS web-site: www.epis.psu.edu

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