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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00142

Determinants of Dropout from Correctional Offender Treatment

 Franziska Brunner1*, Insa Neumann1, Insa Neumann1,  Dahlnym Yoon2,  Martin Rettenberger3, 4,  Elisabeth Stueck1 and Peer Briken1
  • 1Instituts für Sexualforschung und Forensische Psychiatrie, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
  • 2Institut für Psychologie, FernUniversität Hagen, Germany
  • 3Centre for Criminology (Kriminologische Zentralstelle, KrimZ), Germany
  • 4Institute of Psychological, Department of Social Sciences, Media and Sport, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany

Research indicates that approximately one third of offenders admitted to social-therapeutic correctional facilities in Germany fail to complete treatment and that treatment dropout is linked to higher recidivism in both sexual and violent offenders. The purpose of this study was to examine determinants of treatment dropout in a social-therapeutic correctional facility in Germany. The sample consisted of 205 incarcerated adult male offenders (49.8% sexual, 38.1 % non-sexual violent) admitted to correctional treatment. Completers and dropouts were compared on variables pertaining to demographics, offense type, substance abuse, psychopathy, risk and protective factors. Univariate analyses showed that treatment dropouts demonstrated significantly higher scores on measures of risk and psychopathy and lower scores on protective factors. Logistic regression analyses identified unemployment, non-sexual violent index offense, higher risk scores (HCR-20), and Facet 1 (interpersonal deficits) of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) as significant predictors of treatment dropout. Surprisingly, substance abuse disorder was a negative predictor of dropout. With the exception of substance abuse, the results support the notion that treatment dropouts represent a group of high-risk offenders with particular treatment needs. Practical implications and suggestions for further research are discussed.

Keywords: dropout, Sexual offender, Violent offender, Correctional treatment, risk factor, Protective factor, psychopathy

Received: 18 Sep 2018; Accepted: 26 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Norbert Konrad, Charité Medical University of Berlin, Germany

Reviewed by:

Silvia Pellegrini, University of Pisa, Italy
Klaus-Peter Dahle, University of Hildesheim, Germany  

Copyright: © 2019 Brunner, Neumann, Neumann, Yoon, Rettenberger, Stueck and Briken. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Franziska Brunner, Instituts für Sexualforschung und Forensische Psychiatrie, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany,