Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services



Committee Director

Nina Brown

Committee Member

Corrin Richels

Committee Member

Narketta Sparkman-Key


Multisystemic therapy (MST) is a form of behavioral health treatment for adolescents which has been identified as one of the leading effective forms of treatment for children and adolescents with severe behavioral and mental health disorders. Since its creation, there have been countless studies exploring if this form of treatment works with a different population in a variety of locations. Additionally, there have been studies which determined that MST is just as effective as or even less effective than other treatment modalities. This dissertation explored the specific aspects of MST and what leads to its effectiveness. A meta-analysis and case study were conducted as the methodology for this study. Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory was the theoretical guidelines for this study and addressed the research questions: Does MST show better outcomes than usual treatment paradigms? Which factors influence the outcomes of MST for youth? The meta-analysis produced outcome data on four variables and identified that MST does produce better outcomes than usual treatment paradigms. The meta-analysis indicated that treatment fidelity was a factor that influenced MST outcomes, additionally, the case study provided support to the meta-analysis with seven codes, one including treatment fidelity which indicates an influence of MST outcomes. The answers to these research questions provide recommendations for the future of MST overall, the future direction in counselor education, as well as with clinical practice.


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