Efficacy of Low-Intensity Cognitive Behavior Intervention for Chinese Delinquent Youth

Xiaoyu ZHUANG*, Yin Yim LAU, Yu-Te HUANG, Cherry Hau Lin TAM, Wilson Man Ho CHAN, Kenneth Kin Wa YEUNG, Ting Kin NG, Daniel Fu Keung WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Recent literature has pointed out the seriously unmet treatment needs of delinquent youth with mental health problems in Hong Kong. This study pioneers to systematically develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a structured low-intensity cognitive behavioral intervention (LICBI) to concurrently address mental health issues and delinquent behaviors among Hong Kong Chinese youth.

A quasi-experimental controlled design was adopted with three assessments at baseline, postintervention, and 6-week follow-up. One hundred and eighty participants were recruited to the LICBI and 123 to the control group.

Multilevel modeling analyses showed that the LICBI might be effective in improving mental health–related factors (impulsivity, self-esteem, negative emotions, and loneliness) and delinquent behaviors. A mediation analysis suggested that LICBI might reduce participants’ delinquent behaviors through reducing their impulsivity and enhancing their self-esteem.

The results provide preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of LICBI for Chinese delinquent youth in a community social service setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-167
Number of pages13
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number2
Early online date22 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Special thanks should be given to the D. H. Chen Foundation sponsoring this Project E.Positive ("Education and Counselling Service for Youth With Deviant Behaviour and Mental Health Issue") which was conducted and operated by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Youth Crime Prevention Centre. The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The study was funded by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • low-intensity intervention
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • youth delinquency
  • Chinese adolescents
  • psychological attributes


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