Determinants and outcomes of social climate in therapeutic residential care

Jonathan David Leipoldt, Annemiek Harder, Tormod Rimehaug, Nanna Kayed, Hans Grietens

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


Objectives: Residential Youth Care (RYC) is still considered a “black box”. Research continues to focus on the results that are achieved, but more insight is necessary to show how these results are achieved for different groups of residents. We refer to this principle as the “what works for whom” principle. By examining more closely the process of change in the RYC treatment process, we could be able to more accurately identify factors associated with facilitation or obstruction of a positive outcome. One of the most basic elements necessary for treatment success is the interpersonal environment (in this study termed social climate) that adolescents and staff in RYC are a continuous part of. Up until now, no review studies summarizing the knowledge about the effects of social climate have been available. Such a review could improve our understanding, which in turn could improve the processes and outcomes of RYC institutions and their treatment programs. In this paper, we aim to systematically review the current literature on associations between determinants and outcomes of social climate in RYC. Our goal is to answer the following questions: (1) Which determinants are related to a positive and a negative social climate? (2) How are aspects of social climate associated with positive and negative outcomes of RYC?Method: We carried out a systematic review search and included peer-reviewed studies from 1990 until 2016. The studies had to include a measure of social climate and focus on youths between the ages of 12 to 23 in RYC institutions. We searched ten databases with a selection of keywords to adhere to the person, institution type, social climate, determinants, and outcomes (PICO) model. Exclusion criteria were studies that focused on foster care, school settings, medical care, outpatient care, or a combination of outpatient care and RYC. We analyzed data in Distiller Systematic Review according to predefined decision forms.Results and conclusions: Results indicate that social climate differs between institution type, and that different trajectories can be established between determinants, social climate and treatment outcomes. The findings from this study highlight the importance of shaping environments that match the heterogeneous groups of adolescents living in RYC. More empirical research is needed to identify how RYC institutions can be less a “black box” by identifying how the social climate in the institutions affects treatment outcomes for the adolescents.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on "New perspectives for outcome-based evaluation and research on family and children's services" - Hong Kong
Duration: 7 Sep 2017 → …


ConferenceInternational Conference on "New perspectives for outcome-based evaluation and research on family and children's services"
CityHong Kong
Period7/09/17 → …

Cite this