Personality disorder, treatment readiness and dropout from treatment in three community-based cognitive skills and violence reduction programmes

Date13 November 2017
Publication Date13 November 2017
AuthorJake Shaw,Robert Edelmann
SubjectHealth & social care,Criminology & forensic psychology,Forensic practice,Sociology,Sociology of crime & law,Law enforcement/correctional,Public policy & environmental management,Policing,Criminal justice
Personality disorder, treatment readiness
and dropout from treatment in three
community-based cognitive skills and
violence reduction programmes
Jake Shaw and Robert Edelmann
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between personality disorder (PD)
treatment readiness and dropout from three community-based offending behaviour group programmes.
Design/methodology/approach At the pre-programme stage, measures of PD and treatment readiness
were administered to 186 offenders participating in either a cognitive skills programme, a general violence
programme or a programme for domestically abusive men. Demographic and risk data were also obtained
from the offender assessment system. At a one-year follow-up, comparisons were made between the risk,
personality and treatment readiness profiles of programme completers and non-completers.
Findings It was hypothesised that PD would be associated with low levels of treatment readiness at the
pre-group stage and that both low levels of treatment readiness and PD would predict subsequent
programme non-completion. Only antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) was associated with low overall
treatment readiness, although antisocial, paranoid, schizoid, negativistic and borderline traits were
associated with the facet of low self-efficacy. Non-completion was not predicted by younger age or
recidivism risk scores and was most strongly predicted by the presence of a cluster A PD, as well as ASPD,
low pre-group motivation and mixed race and white ethnicity.
Research limitations/implications Paranoid and antisocial personality pathology present important
obstacles to effective offending behaviour group work in the community. This illustrates that further
consideration needs to be given to these important responsivity factors in future delivery and evaluation of
these programmes.
Originality/value The study provides a detailed analysis of factors associated with non-completion of
three community-based offending behaviour programmes in the UK.
Keywords Personality, Treatment, Offender, Attrition, Disorder, Treatment readiness
Paper type Research paper
In the UK, offending behaviour programmes (OBPs) are a central component of rehabilitation
policy, with over 18,000 offenders completing such programmes annually (Hatcher, 2012).
Despite there being a large body of research demonstrating the potential effectiveness of
these programmes in reducing re-offending rates, there is a relative paucity of research
investigating the characteristics of offenders who do not make progress compared with
those who do. Respo nsiveness to OBPs i s variable, with hig h numbers failing to complete
treatment and many completers failing to demonstrate clinically significant change
(Beech et al., 2010).
In an attempt todevelop a greater understandingof who is likely to benefit fromOBPs and in what
circumstances, attempts have been made to investigate participantsreadiness for treatment.
The conceptof treatment readiness was firstdiscussed in relation to offence-focused interventions
Received 18 May 2017
Revised 25 June 2017
Accepted 26 June 2017
The authors would like to thank
programmes staff within the LPT
for assisting with data collection
for this study.
Jake Shaw is a Consultant
Forensic Psychologist at
London Pathways Partnership,
London, UK.
Robert Edelmann is an
Emeritus Professor of Forensic
and Clinical Psychology at the
Department of Psychology,
Roehampton University,
London, UK.
DOI 10.1108/JFP-05-2017-0017 VOL. 19 NO. 4 2017, pp. 247-257, © Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 2050-8794
PAG E 24 7

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