The effectiveness of offending behaviour programs in forensic mental health settings is not well established. Thus this study aimed to evaluate the Reasoning and Rehabilitation Mental Health program (R&R2 MHP) among a mentally disordered offender (MDO) population.
A sample of 121 adult males drawn from 10 forensic mental health sites completed questionnaires at baseline and post-treatment to assess violent attitudes, locus of control, social problem-solving and anger. An informant measure of social and psychological functioning, including disruptive behaviour, was completed by unit staff at the same time. At three month follow-up patients completed again the violent attitudes and locus of control questionnaires. The data of 67 patients who participated in the group condition were compared with 54 waiting-list controls who received treatment as usual.
78% of group participants completed the program. In contrast to controls, significant treatment effects were found at outcome on self-reported measures of violent attitudes, rational problem-solving and anger cognitions. Improvements were endorsed by informant ratings of social and psychological functioning within the establishments. At follow-up significant treatment effects were found for both violent attitudes and locus of control.
R&R2 MHP was effective in a sample of MDOs and had a comparatively low drop-out rate. Future research should use a randomized controlled design.
Keywords: Mentally disordered offenders, Treatment outcome, Reasoning & Rehabilitation, Cognitive skills