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Am J Psychiatry. 2000 Jan;157(1):130-2.

Affective disorder in juvenile offenders: A preliminary study.

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  • 1Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 78284-7792, USA. pliska@uthscsa.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The authors' goal was to determine the prevalence of major mental disorders and substance abuse in adolescents admitted to a juvenile detention center.

METHOD:

As part of a routine mental health screening, modules from the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children were administered to 50 youths (11-17 years old) at an urban juvenile detention center.

RESULTS:

A high rate of affective disorder (42%) was found among these adolescents: 10 (20%) met criteria for mania, another 10 met criteria for major depressive disorder, and one met criteria for bipolar disorder, mixed type. Thirty (60%) met criteria for conduct disorder, and very high rates of alcohol, marijuana, and other substance dependence were found. There was a strong association between affective disorder and conduct disorder; adolescents with mania had much higher rates of reported abuse of substances other than alcohol or marijuana.

CONCLUSIONS:

Juvenile offenders have high rates of affective disorder. Further studies are needed to examine the relationship of affective disorder to substance abuse as well as to antisocial behavior.

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