What is it about?

This brief commentary considers the findings of a meta-analysis that concluded, based on two identified studies, that there was not evidence to support the effectiveness of mentoring programs for preventing recidivism (re-arrest) for adolescents. After identifying several additional studies missed in the authors' literature search and incorporating the findings of these studies, a re-analysis shows support for mentoring programs contributing to reduced recidivism.

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Why is it important?

Juvenile justice involvement and delinquent behavior are enormously costly at many levels, ranging from costs associated with detention of juvenile offenders to harmful effects of system involvement for youth offenders. Much of these costs stem from youth with multiple/repeat arrests. Identifying effective and scalable strategies to prevent recidivism, such as mentoring programs, is thus very important.

Perspectives

This article highlights the critical importance of conducting a comprehensive search for relevant studies when conducting a meta-analysis or, for that matter, any systematic reivew. A key component of the search should be outreach to individuals conducting research on the topic as well as organizations involved in curating and sharing studies on the topic. In view, no amount of sophisticated "search strings" or other similar technology-based strategies can substitute adequately for this type of more interactive, person-based outreach.

Professor David DuBois
University of Illinois at Chicago

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This page is a summary of: Reconsidering the effectiveness of mentoring for prevention of juvenile criminal recidivism: A brief comment on systematic review and meta-analysis of noninstitutional psychosocial interventions to prevent juvenile criminal recidivism (Olsson et al., 2..., Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, August 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/ccp0000744.
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