Engaging Street-Involved Youth in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy: A Secondary Analysis. Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: The objective of this secondary analysis was to identify factors associated with engagement of street-involved youth in a Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) intervention. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional correlational study. Youth were recruited from two agencies providing services to street-involved youth in Canada. Mental health indicators were selected for this secondary analysis to gain a better understanding of characteristics that may account for levels of engagement. RESULTS: Three distinct groups of participants were identified in the data, a) youth who expressed intention to engage, but did not start DBT (n=16); b) youth who started DBT but subsequently dropped out (n=39); and c) youth who completed the DBT intervention (n=67). Youth who did engage in the DBT intervention demonstrated increased years of education; increased depressive symptoms and suicidality; and lower levels of resilience and self-esteem compared to youth participants who did not engage in the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that it is possible to engage street-involved youth in a DBT intervention who exhibit a high degree of mental health challenges. Despite the growing literature describing the difficult psychological and interpersonal circumstances of street-involved youth, there remains limited research regarding the process of engaging these youth in service.


  • Lynk, Michelle
  • McCay, Elizabeth
  • Carter, Celina
  • Aiello, Andria
  • Donald, Faith

publication date

  • 2015