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Multisystemic Therapy (MST) for child abuse and neglect

Child Welfare
  Literature review updated August 2017.
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Multisystemic Therapy (MST) for child abuse and neglect is an intensive in-home program, which promotes the parent’s ability to monitor and discipline their children and replace deviant peer relationships with pro-social friendships. In the child welfare setting, MST has been rigorously evaluated against enhanced outpatient treatment in one small study, for families referred to CPS for physical abuse.

Meta-analysis is a statistical method to combine the results from separate studies on a program, policy, or topic in order to estimate its effect on an outcome. WSIPP systematically evaluates all credible evaluations we can locate on each topic. The outcomes measured are the types of program impacts that were measured in the research literature (for example, crime or educational attainment). Treatment N represents the total number of individuals or units in the treatment group across the included studies.

An effect size (ES) is a standard metric that summarizes the degree to which a program or policy affects a measured outcome. If the effect size is positive, the outcome increases. If the effect size is negative, the outcome decreases. See Estimating Program Effects Using Effect Sizes for additional information.

Adjusted effect sizes are used to calculate the benefits from our benefit cost model. WSIPP may adjust effect sizes based on methodological characteristics of the study. For example, we may adjust effect sizes when a study has a weak research design or when the program developer is involved in the research. The magnitude of these adjustments varies depending on the topic area.

WSIPP may also adjust the second ES measurement. Research shows the magnitude of some effect sizes decrease over time. For those effect sizes, we estimate outcome-based adjustments which we apply between the first time ES is estimated and the second time ES is estimated. We also report the unadjusted effect size to show the effect sizes before any adjustments have been made. More details about these adjustments can be found in our Technical Documentation.

Meta-Analysis of Program Effects
Outcomes measured No. of effect sizes Treatment N Adjusted effect size(ES) and standard error(SE) Unadjusted effect size (random effects model)
ES SE Age ES p-value
14 1 44 -0.228 0.437 15 -0.633 0.230
14 1 44 -0.226 0.295 15 -0.627 0.061

Citations Used in the Meta-Analysis

Swenson, C.C., Schaeffer, C., Henggeler, S.W., Faldowski, R., Saldana, L., & Mayhew, A.M. (2010). Multisystemic Therapy for child abuse and neglect: A randomized effectiveness trial.  Journal of Family Psychology 24(4): 497-507.