To examine the effectiveness of social skills training (SST) for juvenile offenders and for whom and under which conditions SSTs are the most effective.
Multilevel meta-analyses were conducted to examine the effectiveness of juvenile offender SST compared to no/placebo treatment and alternative treatment on offending, externalizing problems, social skills, and internalizing problems.
Beneficial effects were only found for offending and social skills compared to no/placebo treatment. Compared to alternative treatment, small effects on only reoffending were found. Moderator analyses yielded larger effects on offending, with larger post-treatment effects on social skills. Effects on externalizing behavior were only reported in the USA, and effects on social skills were larger when the outcomes were reported through self-report.
SST may be a too generic treatment approach to reduce juvenile delinquency, because dynamic risk factors for juvenile offending are only partially targeted in SST.
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