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Prevalence of mental disorders among 15–17-year-old male adolescent remand prisoners in Denmark


N. Patrick Gosden, Clinic of Forensic Psychiatry, Blegdamsvej 6B, DK-2200 N, Copenhagen, Denmark E-mail:


Objective:  To determine the past year prevalence of mental disorders of 15–17-year-old adolescent remand prisoners in east Denmark.

Method:  One hundred 15–17-year-old boys from east Denmark consecutively remanded during 1 year were interviewed with diagnostic instruments to obtain ICD-10 diagnoses. All were screened in The Danish Psychiatric Case Register and The Danish Criminal Register.

Results:  Past year prevalence of ‘any mental disorder’ was 69%, substance use disorders 41%. Two per cent had schizophrenia and 2% schizotypal disorder. Thirty-six per cent had ‘probable personality disorder’. Conduct disorder was found in 31% and 1% had a hyperkinetic disorder. Ten per cent had previous registered psychiatric contact.

Conclusion:  The prevalence of mental disorders was found substantially higher compared with literature of population-based samples. With an association between mental disorders and violence, early detection and treatment of mental disorders in adolescent delinquents is of importance in the prevention of violence.