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Open Access Study protocol

The effects of the prevention program ‘New Perspectives’ (NP) on juvenile delinquency and other life domains: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Sanne LA de Vries*, Machteld Hoeve, Jessica J Asscher and Geert Jan JM Stams

Author Affiliations

Research Institute Child Development and Education, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, Amsterdam 1018 VZ, The Netherlands

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BMC Psychology 2014, 2:10  doi:10.1186/2050-7283-2-10

Published: 16 April 2014

Abstract

Background

New Perspectives (NP) is a prevention program aiming to prevent that youth at onset of a criminal career will develop a persistent criminal behaviour pattern. The effects of NP on juvenile delinquency and other life domains are investigated, using a randomized controlled trial (RCT).

Method/Design

In the present study at-risk youth aged 12 to 23 years are assigned randomly to the intervention (N = 90, NP) or control condition consisting of care as usual (N = 90, CAU). After screening, random assignment, and consent to participate, adolescents and their parents are requested to complete questionnaires. Data are collected at four points in time: at baseline (before the start of the intervention), after 3 months, after 6 months (post-test) and 1 year after treatment (follow-up). Primary outcome measures include involvement in delinquent behaviour and recidivism. Secondary outcome measures include parenting behaviour, life events, prosocial behaviour, deviant and prosocial peers, externalizing behaviour, cognitive distortions, moral reasoning, self-worth, anxiety, depression, client satisfaction, therapeutic alliance and motivation. Standardized questionnaires and interviews are used to collect data. Moderator analyses will also be conducted in order to examine the influence of ethnic background, gender and age on the program effectiveness.

Discussion

The present study will provide new insights in the effects of a prevention program targeting youth at risk for the development of a persistent criminal career.

Trial registration

Dutch trial register number NTR4370. The study is financially supported by a grant from ZonMw, the Dutch Organization for Health research and Development, grant number 157004006. The study is approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Amsterdam, approval number 2011-CDE-01.

Keywords:
Effectiveness; Randomized controlled trial (RCT); Delinquency; Adolescents; Prevention; Care as usual