Mental Health Disorders: The Neglected Risk Factor in Juvenile Delinquency
Juvenile Delinquency: Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention, 85-110, 2005
26 Pages Posted: 31 May 2014
Date Written: 2005
Once a neglected area of study, the relationship between mental health and delinquency has recently become a major focus in juvenile justice jurisprudence. Attention to the mental health of juvenile delinquents is particularly important because rates of mental illness in this population are substantially higher than those found in the general adolescent population. The rate of mental illness in the general adolescent population is approximately 20%, and although estimates in the juvenile offender population vary greatly, rates are at least twice those associated with nonoffending youth. This chapter reports the prevalence and characteristics of common mental health disorders in this population and describes the most promising mental health treatment options for juvenile delinquents. Further, risk factors that predispose juveniles to delinquent behavior and mental health problems are reviewed. Finally, the higher rates of mental health-related problems among female juvenile offenders are addressed.
Keywords: mental health, psychiatric disorders, risk factors, juvenile delinquency, juvenile justice, juvenile offenders, prevalence, epidemiology
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