Prevalence of and Gender Differences in Psychiatric Disorders Among Juvenile Delinquents Incarcerated for Nine Months

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Abstract

Objective

This study examined prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders among young offenders after they were incarcerated for nine months.

Methods

A total of 790 youths were surveyed, including a significant proportion of females (N=140, 18%), nine months after incarceration. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV with portions of the Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents and the Structured Interview for DSM-IV Personality were used.

Results

Even when conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder were excluded, 88% of males and 92% of females had a psychiatric disorder (including substance use disorder); more than 80% of offenders met criteria for some type of substance use disorder. Gender differences were found for anxiety disorders (males 26%, females 55%, p<.01), marijuana dependence (males 32%, females 24%, p=.04), marijuana abuse (males 19%, females 11%, p=.04), and stimulant dependence (males 25%, females 44%, p<.01).

Conclusions

Despite nine months of incarceration, young offenders continued to show high levels of psychiatric and substance use disorders.

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