The Relationship Between Traumatic Brain Injury and Criminality in Juvenile Offenders

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To examine the relationship between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and criminal behavior in youth who are incarcerated or on probation in Texas.


Seven juvenile justice facilities.


Juvenile offenders in state or county correctional facilities or on probation.


Screening for TBI was conducted among adolescents at 7 juvenile justice centers.

Main Measures:

Participants were administered the Brain Injury Screening Questionnaire, and results were linked to participants' offense history and psychiatric diagnoses.


One in 4 juvenile offenders met criteria for TBI, and the majority of injuries occurred prior to the adolescents' criminal offenses. A history of TBI was related to more violent crimes, as well as more mental health diagnoses and symptoms.


The high rates of TBI and levels of distress found in juvenile offenders suggest a need for preventive actions, interventions to compensate for challenges related to TBI, and programs to assist individuals' transitions into the community.

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