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Montreal Preventive Treatment Program



The Montreal Preventive Treatment Program was designed to prevent antisocial behavior of boys who display early problem behavior. It provides training for both parents and youth to decrease delinquency, substance use, and gang involvement. The intervention has been successfully implemented for white, Canadian-born males, ages 7–9, from low socioeconomic families, who were assessed as having high levels of disruptive behavior in kindergarten.

The Preventive Treatment Program combines parent training with individual social skills training. Parents receive an average of 17 sessions that focus on monitoring their children’s behavior, giving positive reinforcement for prosocial behavior, using punishment effectively, and managing family crises. The boys receive 19 sessions aimed at improving prosocial skills and self-control. The training is implemented in small groups containing both disruptive and nondisruptive boys, and it utilizes coaching, peer modeling, self-instruction, reinforcement contingency, and role playing to build skills.

Evaluations of the program have demonstrated both short- and long-term gains for youth receiving the intervention. At age 12, three years after the intervention:

  • Treated boys were less likely to report the following offenses: trespassing, taking objects worth less than $10, taking objects worth more than $10, and stealing bicycles.
  • Treated boys were rated by teachers as fighting less than untreated boys.
  • 29 percent of the treated boys were rated as well-adjusted in school, compared to 19 percent of the untreated boys.
  • 22 percent of the treated boys, compared to 44 percent of the untreated boys, displayed less serious difficulties in school.
  • 23 point three percent of the treated boys, compared to 43 percent of the untreated boys, were held back in school or placed in special education classes.

At age 15, those receiving the intervention were less likely than untreated boys to report:

  • Gang involvement.
  • Having been drunk or taken drugs in the past 12 months.
  • Committing delinquent acts (stealing, vandalism, drug use).
  • Having friends arrested by the police.

Risk Factors


Antisocial/delinquent beliefs

Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)

Early and persistent noncompliant behavior

Early onset of aggression/violence

General delinquency involvement

High alcohol/drug use


Lack of guilt and empathy

Low intelligence quotient

Low perceived likelihood of being caught

Mental health problems

Poor refusal skills

Victim of child maltreatment

Victimization and exposure to violence


Abusive parents

Antisocial parents

Broken home/changes in caretaker

Child maltreatment (abuse or neglect)

Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)

High parental stress/maternal depression

Parent proviolent attitudes

Parental use of physical punishment/harsh and/or erratic discipline practices

Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)

Poor parent-child relations or communication

Unhappy parents



Frequent school transitions

Frequent truancy/absences/suspensions; expelled from school; dropping out of school

Identified as learning disabled

Low academic aspirations

Low achievement in school

Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school

Old for grade/repeated a grade

Poor student-teacher relations

Poorly defined rules and expectations for appropriate conduct

Student failure in the first grade


Crime Solutions: Promising program


Richard E. Tremblay, Ph.D.
University of Montreal, GRIP
3050 Edouard Monpetit
Montreal, Quebec H3T 1J7
Phone: (514) 343-6963
Fax: (514) 343-6962
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.gripinfo.ca/grip/public/www/Etudes/en/programme.asp


Sherman, L. W.; Farrington, D. P.; MacKenzie, D. L.; and Welsh, B. C. (2006). Evidence-Based Crime Prevention (rev. ed.). New York: Routledge.

Tremblay, R. E.; Masse, L.; Pagani, L.; and Vitaro, F. (1996). “From Childhood Physical Aggression to Adolescent Maladjustment: The Montreal Prevention Experiment.” In R. D. Peters and R. J. McMahon (eds.), Preventing Childhood Disorders, Substance Abuse, and Delinquency . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 268–298.

Date Created: April 7, 2021