Multisystemic Therapy for Emerging Adults With Serious Mental Illness and Justice Involvement

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Law and Psychology | Mental and Social Health | Mental Disorders | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Therapeutics


Most serious mental illnesses (SMI) have onset by emerging adulthood and SMI can impair adolescents' transitions into healthy, productive adults. Emerging adults (EAs) with SMI are at high risk for justice involvement, and rates of recidivism are greater for offenders with SMI than without. These EAs are frequently multi-system involved (e.g., aging out of foster care; both juvenile and adult arrests; prison reentry). Few interventions, however, have focused specifically on EAs, and no interventions have focused on reducing recidivism in EAs with or without SMI. Multisystemic Therapy for Emerging Adults (MST-EA) is an adaptation of standard MST (for adolescent antisocial behavior) that was specifically designed for EAs with SMI and justice involvement. This paper provides the first description of MST-EA, including clinical outcome data on pilot cases and an extensive case example. To date, 57 cases have been treated with MST-EA. Success at discharge was demonstrated on main outcomes (rearrest and mental health) and other functional outcomes. Clinical data on pilot cases is promising and supports further research to assess long-term outcomes and effectiveness.


Criminal Justice Behavior, Emerging Adults, Multisystemic Therapy (MST), Serious Mental Illness, Transition Age Youth

DOI of Published Version



Cogn Behav Pract. 2016 Aug;23(3):356-367. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpra.2015.09.003. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Cognitive and behavioral practice

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID