To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Developing a standard for youth modified therapeutic communities

Jaimie Chloe Northam (University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia)
Lynne Magor-Blatch (Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA) and School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wollongon, Australia)

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities

ISSN: 0964-1866

Article publication date: 12 September 2016



The purpose of this paper is to explore the applicability of the Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA) Standard to Australian youth-specific modified therapeutic communities (MTCs). An Interpretive Guide for Youth MTCs and Residential Rehabilitation (RR) Services was developed and a pilot trial conducted with three Australian youth MTC services.


Using a mixed-methods design, this study included three components: a consultation process with residential youth MTCs (N=15), which informed the development of the ATCA Standard Interpretive Guide for Youth MTCs and RR Services; a pilot trial of the materials with three Australian youth MTCs (N=53); and an evaluation of the interpretive guide and assessment of applicability of the ATCA standard to youth MTCs through pre- (N=32) and post- (N=19) pilot trial administrations of the Survey of Essential Elements Questionnaires (SEEQ), and post-pilot trial focus groups (N=21).


Results indicate that the ATCA Standard is applicable to youth MTC settings when applied with the Interpretive Guide, although no significant differences were found between the pre- and post-pilot trial administrations of the SEEQ.

Practical implications

Future research is recommended to explore active mechanisms of youth-specific MTCs, differences between adults and youth MTCs, and the development of TC-specific training.


To date, no standard for youth residential substance use services in Australia has been developed, and this is the first study of its kind internationally to explore the efficacy of standards in a youth MTC.



Northam, J.C. and Magor-Blatch, L. (2016), "Developing a standard for youth modified therapeutic communities", Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 140-148.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited