A systematic review on psychological interventions for individuals with a history of offending behavior delivered by digital means

Cláudia Calaboiça, Diana Moreira, Eduardo Araújo, Helena Grangeia, Cláudia Oliveira, Sofia Barros, Anita Santos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Violence and other criminal behaviors are problems with a high social, economic, and criminal justice impact. Individuals with a history of offending behavior (IHOB) can be found in a range of contexts within the criminal justice system, from prisons to community-based settings. Assessing the risk of recidivism, intervening, and reintegrating IHOB in society is of fundamental importance and the criminal justice contexts play a fundamental role in offering the necessary conditions and services. Rehabilitation programs have proven their efficacy, with better results achieved when programs seek to meet the needs of individuals. Treatment implementation can be troubled by a diversity of barriers ranging from geographical to financial restrictions. In this framework, digital means made it possible to ensure, albeit at a distance, the continuity of interventions and the rehabilitation of individuals and presented itself as an alternative mean that is likely to persist in the forensic context. Therefore, it matters to know which psychological interventions delivered by digital means aimed at IHOB have been implemented and what results have been achieved. To this end, a systematic review was conducted. Searches were performed in the EBSCO, PubMed, and Web of Science databases. Initially, 1983 records were identified, to which six records were added by manual search. Of the 14 studies included in the review, were identified 4 motivational interventions delivered by digital means, considered effective in promoting behavior change in IHOB. Three cognitive-behavioral approaches were analyzed, and they presented high levels of acceptability and effectiveness. Overall, the programs delivered by digital means reported greater effectiveness, when compared to control groups. Implications for the rehabilitation of IHOB are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101855
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • Digital means
  • Offending behavior
  • Psychological interventions
  • Systematic review


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