Negative Pressures and Adolescent Treatment Admission Reactions

A current research study by Clinton Hardy (NST founder) at the University of Utah is indicating that certain procedures, particularly those involving negative coercive pressures, significantly relate with adverse affective reactions, or attitudes, at the time of entering a youth/teen treatment program.  Specifically, negative coercive pressures refer to the adolescent’s perceptions of “threat” or overt “force” when entering treatment.  While coercion is a broad treatment concept—encompassing many different pressures—this study focusses on the negative pressures of coercion, expressly those that pertain to physical force, threat, and intimidation.  Interestingly, research in adult treatment contexts has suggested that it is the perception of these pressures, including coercion in general, that is more implicative than the actual form of coercion used.  In other words, an intervention, such as a youth transport, that admits adolescents unwillingly into treatment can structure its approach to where less coercion, especially negative pressures, is experienced during the intervention process.  For example, a youth transport service that uses blatant verbal threats, intimidation, or unnecessary force may provoke more perceived negative coercive pressures versus a youth transport service that focuses on verbal negotiating strategies and avoids using intimidation and threatening.  More generally, the predicted implications of this study illustrate a need for additional inquiry into how negative admission pressures might adversely impact (a) initial adjustment into treatment or the concomitant delays in participation and outcome, (b) treatment outcomes, and (c) the adolescent’s willingness to seek future treatment.

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