Adolescent inpatient completers of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Ella Hancock-Johnson, Charlie Staniforth, Lucy Pomroy, Kieran Breen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) aims to reduce emotional dysregulation and engagement in less adaptive behaviours for adults with mixed disorders of conduct and emotions (MDCE). However, there is limited evidence available for the effectiveness of DBT skills training for adolescents with MDCE who are resident within a secure impatient setting. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

A retrospective study investigated changes in aggressive and self-injurious behaviours in 22 adolescents within a secure inpatient mental health setting with MDCE who had completed one cycle of DBT skills training. Changes in symptomatic problems, behavioural and social impairment were also investigated in 17 of the 22 participants who completed the DBT skills training cycle.

There were statistically significant decreases in the frequencies of engagement in total aggressive and deliberate self-harm behaviours after the DBT skills training cycle. There was a significant improvement in symptomatic and behavioural impairment, but not in social impairment.

Practical implications
The findings of this study suggest that DBT skills training may be beneficial for behavioural and symptomatic outcomes in adolescent inpatients with MDCE.

This study provides preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of DBT skills training for adolescents with MDCE within a secure inpatient setting. Additional studies are required to investigate the clinical benefits of specific aspects of DBT for individual patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Forensic Practice
Issue number1
Early online date6 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2019


  • Skills
  • Adolescent
  • Inpatient
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy
  • Secure
  • Emotional dysregulation


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