Group Therapy for Sexually Abusive Boys: Summary of Measurement Results of the Outcomes Initiative Pilot

This report collates the main findings of a pilot measuring the outcomes of a group-therapy program for sexually-abusive boys. The pilot was conducted in the framework of the Outcomes Initiative led and funded by the Research, Planning and Training Division of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) in cooperation with the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute (MJB).

The pilot was designed to help the social services develop ongoing outcome measurement (OM) of the group-therapy program for sexually-abusive boys. A 2-stage system was developed to examine the boys’ attitudes and coping skills at the start and the end of the group intervention. The difference between these  two measurements indicates changes in the boys’ attitudes and skills. It represents a milestone  on the way to achieving the final outcome of the intervention – abstention from sexual offenses.

According to the pilot findings appearing in this report, there was progress in the expected direction among most of the boys participating in the program. They improved their ability to identify the circumstances that led to their committing an offence, they are learning to recognize their own behavior in these circumstances, and they are internalizing skills that are a deterrent to repeating the offences.

The report includes an in-depth discussion of the possibilities of examining progress in therapy in measureable and presentable terms. Among other things, it proposes three ways to reflect the outcomes of the intervention on the level of the individual and of the population in therapy:

  1. The score achieved by the boys in every outcome area, following intervention.
  2. The extent of changes experienced by the boys from start to finish of the intervention.
  3. The direction of the change made by the boys in each outcome area (the level of scores at which they started the intervention and the level of scores that they moved onto at the end of the intervention).

Furthermore, the suggested model explains the variation in the boys’ achievements and relates to their characteristics, to their needs beyond those treated in the group, and to the feature of group therapy and additional interventions. It was found, for instance, that the duration of participation and punctual attendance were related to the achievement of superior outcomes. Similarly, the integration of casework and group therapy greatly improved the boys’ achievements.

This report also presents a series of methodological challenges involved in outcome measurement in this program, as well as recommendations to improve measurement in anticipation of sustaining ongoing measurement in the service.

The study was funded by the Research, Planning and Training Division of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.