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Law Hum Behav. 2010 Dec;34(6):429-44. doi: 10.1007/s10979-009-9199-3.

Morbidity and mortality risk among the "forgotten few": why are girls in the justice system in such poor health?

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Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 4312 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.


The present study assessed the physical health of a population of girls sentenced to custody in a large US State via medical examinations and clinical assessments in adolescence and young adulthood. Findings indicated that injuries, obesity, and sexually transmitted diseases were the norm, with over 50% of the population meeting criteria for each of these health problems. A dose-response relationship was documented between childhood victimization and injuries and injury risk in adolescence and self-harm, HIV risk, physical health symptoms, and hospitalizations in young adulthood. The relationship between childhood victimization and poor adult physical health was fully mediated by health-risk behaviors in adolescence. Clinical and policy implications of the high mortality and morbidity risk among female juvenile offenders are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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