Psychiatric Disorders in Property, Violent, and Versatile Offending Detained Male Adolescents

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This study examines the past year prevalence rate of psychiatric disorders in detained male adolescents and the relation between psychiatric disorders and type of offending. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC-IV) was administered in a sample (N = 245) of male detained adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. Based on lifetime official criminal history, participants were classified into property, violent, and versatile subgroups. High rates of psychiatric disorders were found in all groups. In addition, property offenders reported significantly higher rates of depression, disruptive behavior disorders, substance use disorders and comorbidity than violent and versatile offenders. Overall, versatile offenders did not differ from violent offenders, with the exception of more marijuana use disorder found in violent offenders. This study once more emphasizes that detained boys have substantial mental health needs, a finding that is generalizable across countries. In addition, the current study suggests that classifying detained juveniles by offense subgroups may carry clinical relevance. The long-term impact of these differences, and the possible effects of intervention, should be subject of further research.

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