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Crim Behav Ment Health. 2008;18(4):243-55. doi: 10.1002/cbm.702.

Prevalence and correlates of traumatic brain injury among delinquent youths.

Author information

1
University of Michigan, School of Social Work, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. beperron@umich.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Delinquent youth frequently exhibit high-risk behaviours that can result in serious injury. However, little is known about traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and their correlates in this population.

AIMS:

To examine the period prevalence and correlates of TBIs in delinquent youths.

METHOD:

Interviews were conducted with 720 (97.3%) residents of 27 Missouri Division of Youth Services rehabilitation facilities between March 1 and May 31, 2003. Participants [mean age (M age) = 15.5, standard deviation (SD) = 1.2, 87% male] completed measures assessing TBI, substance use, psychiatric symptoms, and antisocial traits/behaviours. TBI was defined as ever having sustained a head injury causing unconsciousness for more than 20 minutes.

RESULTS:

Nearly one-in-five youths (18.3%) reported a lifetime TBI. Youths with TBIs were significantly more likely than youths without to be male, have received a psychiatric diagnosis, report an earlier onset of criminal behaviour/substance use and more lifetime substance use problems and past-year criminal acts, evidence psychiatric symptoms, report lifetime suicidality, be impulsive, fearless, and external in locus of control and criminally victimized in the year preceding incarceration. Male gender and frequency of own criminal victimization were important predictors of TBI in multivariate analyses. Regression analyses adjusted for demographic factors, indicated that youths with TBIs were at significantly elevated risk for current depressive/anxious symptoms, antisocial behaviour, and substance abuse problems.

CONCLUSIONS:

TBI is common among delinquent youth and associated with wide ranging psychiatric dysfunction; however, the causal role of TBIs in the pathogenesis of co-morbid conditions remains unclear.

PMID:
18803295
PMCID:
PMC4112384
DOI:
10.1002/cbm.702
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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