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There is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of residential treatment centers (RTCs) due to scrutiny around use of this service that is viewed as costly, restrictive, and has resulted in mixed outcome results for youth. Discrepancies exist in residential literature regarding the amount of time in treatment that is optimal for having a positive effect on youth outcomes. This study used archival data to examine the relationship between time in treatment and youth’s improvement in functioning and restrictiveness of living environment in a cross-site evaluation of a large sample of youth (N = 716) who discharged from RTCs over a 5 year time period. Researchers aimed to identify an ideal time in treatment that is beneficial for youth and to add to the practice-based evidence for the effectiveness of RTCs. Results of segmented regression analyses indicate a non-linear relationship that showed a longer time in treatment predicts improvement in overall functioning and restrictiveness of living environment during the first 6 months of treatment. However there is no relationship between time in treatment and outcome variables between 6 and 10 months, and a negative relationship exists between longer time in treatment and outcome variables after 10 months in treatment. Practical implications of results can be used to inform advocacy efforts, discharge planning, and return on investment calculations.
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- Relationship Between Time in Residential Treatment and Youth Outcomes: Results from a Cross-Site 5-Year Analysis
Jennifer R. Mihalo
Matthew J. Bundick
Annette C. Trunzo
- Springer US