Changing Directions?: the experience of young offenders who attend a group based Intervention
Introduction: Youth crime has serious social and economic consequences for the young people involved, their families, communities and society. Group based interventions have demonstrated efficacy in reducing rates o f recidivism but little is known about the experience o f young people who attend such programmes. The current study aimed to explore the experiences that young people at risk o f re-offending have o f attending a group based intervention, to identify what factors impacted on how the young people experienced the intervention and to explore what impact attendance at the group had on the young people’s lives during and after their attendance at the group.Method: Participants were six young people at moderate to high risk o f re-offending who had attended a group work intervention to address their anti-social behaviour. The group is a thirteen week intervention that aims to reduce recidivism, reduce endorsement o f beliefs supporting anti-social, aggressive and offending behaviour and to increase capacity for social problem solving and moral reasoning. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).Results: From the analysis o f interview materials, five super-ordinate themes emerged that captured the participants’ descriptions o f their experience o f the intervention. These super-ordinate themes were Personal Development and Learning; Group Membership; Cognitive Shift; Relationships and Ending.Discussion: The results are discussed and consideration is given to the clinical implications. A methodological critique is provided along with reflections from the researcher.