• Self-Control as a Predictor of Retention in, and Recidivism, and Relapse following Therapeutic Community Treatment for Drug-Abusing Adolescents

      Hiller, Matthew L.; Welsh, Wayne N., 1957-; Belenko, Steven R. (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)
      The adolescent drug problem in America places a huge toll on society and a heavy burden on the criminal justice system. Research regarding the benefits of communitybased therapeutic community treatment for drug-abusing adolescents has generally shown they are effective. Despite their ability to lower drug relapse and reduce criminality in individuals, a great deal remains unknown in terms of how the process of treatment actually works for this young age group. In this study, an attempt was made to apply concepts related to a criminological theory to predict differences in treatment retention and outcomes because empirical studies of drug treatment are mostly atheoretical, even though treatment programming is based on theory. Many of the traits associated with Gottfredson and Hirschi's theory of low self-control are exhibited in adolescent drug users and may present barriers (and/or targets) to effective treatment. Using data collected as part of the Drug Abuse Treatment Outcomes Studies - Adolescents (DATOS-A), a multi-site prospective study of adolescent drug abuse treatment effectiveness, this study examined how characteristics associated with low selfcontrol predict treatment retention and post-treatment crime and drug use. Despite empirical data suggesting that adolescent residential TCs help to reduce drug use, recidivism, and relapse, there is no research that examines whether characteristics associated with low self-control are predictive of positive or negative outcomes from this treatment modality. The primary findings were that motivation for treatment had a significant association with whether or not an adolescent completed treatment and that being male, having family problems and negative peer associations, and the opportunity to use drugs had a significant relationship with post-treatment property crime and post-treatment substance use. With the exception of post-treatment violent crimes, between-program variation influenced individual-level outcomes. Contrary to the hypotheses, pre-treatment levels of impulsivity, self-centeredness, preference for simple tasks, and temper (i.e., low self-control variables) had no relationship with whether or not an adolescent completed treatment, committed property or violent crime, or used alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs in the 12 month post-treatment period. Although these findings do not support the hypotheses, this study begins the process of linking criminological theory to adolescent drug abuse treatment research, addressing the paucity of theory in the empirical study of these programs.