Association between mental health disorders and juveniles' detention for a personal crime

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Abstract

Background:  Youth involved with juvenile courts often suffer from mental health difficulties and disorders, and these mental health disorders have often been a factor leading to the youth’s delinquent behaviours and activities.

Method:  The present study of a sample population (N = 341), randomly drawn from one urban US county’s juvenile court delinquent population, investigated which specific mental health disorders predicted detention for committing a personal crime.

Results:  Youth with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder diagnoses were significantly less likely to commit personal crimes and experience subsequent detention, while youth with bipolar diagnoses were significantly more likely.

Conclusion:  Co-ordinated youth policy efforts leading to early identification and treatment of bipolar disorder symptoms may be necessary.

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