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Psychiatr Serv. 2009 Jun;60(6):838-41. doi: 10.1176/ps.2009.60.6.838.

Prevalence of and gender differences in psychiatric disorders among juvenile delinquents incarcerated for nine months.

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Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California St., Suite 485, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.



This study examined prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders among young offenders after they were incarcerated for nine months.


A total of 790 youths were surveyed, including a significant proportion of females (N=140, 18%), nine months after incarceration. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV with portions of the Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents and the Structured Interview for DSM-IV Personality were used.


Even when conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder were excluded, 88% of males and 92% of females had a psychiatric disorder (including substance use disorder); more than 80% of offenders met criteria for some type of substance use disorder. Gender differences were found for anxiety disorders (males 26%, females 55%, p<.01), marijuana dependence (males 32%, females 24%, p=.04), marijuana abuse (males 19%, females 11%, p=.04), and stimulant dependence (males 25%, females 44%, p<.01).


Despite nine months of incarceration, young offenders continued to show high levels of psychiatric and substance use disorders.

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