RELEASES RESIDENTIAL OUTCOMES STUDY
Kevin/Ross Public Relations
August 17, 2006
NEW ORLEANS, LA - Families who have struggled for years with the
heartache of finding appropriate help for their troubled teen may
find new hope in the results of a just-released study about adolescent
According to the study, most teens with serious behavioral or
emotional problems that have not responded to other treatments
- such as individual or group therapy, medications and psychiatric
hospitalization - improve during treatment at a private residential
The majority of adolescents were treated for multiple problems
(85.5 percent), including disruptive behavior disorders (44 percent),
substance use disorders (36 percent), and mood disorder (31 percent).
Results showed that teens attending licensed private residential
treatment programs experienced significant improvements in all
psychological and behavioral problems studied.
"In the initial findings of this multiphase study, teens
whose emotional and behavioral functioning was previously described
by their parents as 'clinically' impaired when they began residential
treatment, was later described as 'normal' after treatment," said
Dr. Ellen Behrens, lead researcher at Canyon Research & Consulting,
Salt Lake City, Utah, which conducted the study. "Perhaps
even more importantly, the teens themselves later rated their own
emotional and behavioral problems in 'normal' ranges after treatment."
The findings, presented on August 12 at the American Psychological
Association, the largest association of psychologists worldwide,
are the first part of the nation's first large-scale study of private
residential treatment programs for adolescents.
"The findings are significant in that both the parents and
the students reported tremendous improvement in their communications
and personal family dynamics by the time of discharge from the
treatment program," added Dr. Behrens. "In addition,
both groups felt that student behaviors prior to treatment, including
aggressiveness, withdrawal and rule breaking, had been diminished
to 'normal' levels. This indicates that these changes were not
only statistically significant but clinically meaningful to the
"Until now, our industry has relied on anecdotal evidence
and individual success stories to substantiate the outstanding
work that has been done by high-quality, private residential treatment
programs throughout the United States," said Jan Moss, executive
director of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and
Programs, a national organization representing programs and professionals
assisting young people with emotional and behavioral difficulties. "This
research demonstrates what we've always believed - that research-driven
and evidence-based private residential programs can help turn around
teens in trouble. This information will give new hope to thousands
of families who have been struggling with the difficult decision
of how to best help a child."
The multiphase study was designed to determine to what degree
students change over the course of treatment at a private residential
treatment program and to determine to what degree students maintain
these changes after discharge from the program, as measured in
three-, six- and 12-month post-discharge intervals. The current
results represent the first phase of the study. The final phase
of post-discharge symptom measurement will be completed in summer
2006 with results available by first quarter 2007.
"We are pleased with the positive outcomes made by students
at private residential treatment programs upon discharge," noted
NATSAP's Moss. "We look forward to the release of data from
the next phase of the study, which will focus on how well participants
maintained their positive gains one year after discharge."
The current study group consisted of 992 male and female adolescents,
ages 13 to 18, admitted to treatment during a two-year period (August
2003-2005). Both the parents and the adolescents were surveyed
at the time of the student's admission to the residential treatment
program and at the time of discharge.
Private adolescent residential treatment programs are defined
as boarding schools or programs that provide a highly structured
environment, an academic component, and group and individual therapy.
These programs typically are paid for by the families of attending
students and generally last for three to 18 months.
Canyon Research & Consulting (www.canyonrc.com)
is a privately owned company comprised of a team of psychologists
and researchers who provide outcome research services to mental
health programs and providers.
The National Association of Therapeutic
Schools and Programs represents
more than 165 programs and professionals assisting young people
with emotional and behavioral difficulties. According to NATSAP,
parents considering placement of a child at a private residential
treatment program should look for licensed and accredited facilities
with a longstanding record of safety and a licensed and qualified
staff of therapists, teachers and administrators. For more
information, visit www.natsap.org.