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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jan 30;185(1-2):193-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2010.04.052.

Psychosocial background in incarcerated adolescents from Austria, Turkey and former Yugoslavia.

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1
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna (MUW), Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

Adolescents with a migration background account for a substantial proportion of juveniles in custody. Psychosocial adversities pose a significant risk for criminal behaviour. So far, the nature of psychosocial adversities experienced by migrant youth is understudied. The aim of this study was to explore differences in psychosocial background in three ethnic groups (Turkish, former-Yugoslavian and Austrian) of detained juveniles in Austria. A semi-structured interview (Multidimensional Clinical Screening Inventory for delinquent juveniles, MCSI) was used to assess psychosocial background (e.g., trauma, family background, forensic and psychiatric family history, school history, psychiatric treatment received and criminal history) in juveniles entering an Austrian pre-trial detention facility. Of the 370 eligible participants, the final study sample consisted of 278 juveniles. The ethnic distribution was as follows: 55.4% Austrian (mean age 16.88 years, S.D.=1.52), 14% Turkish (mean age 16.28 years, S.D.=1.23), 30.6% former-Yugoslavian (mean age 16.47 years, S.D.=1.41). In the Austrian sample, family dysfunction was significantly more prevalent than in the Turkish or former-Yugoslavian samples. Mental health services were significantly less used by juveniles with migration background. Turkish juveniles had a significantly poorer school performance than Austrians. Juveniles from former-Yugoslavia had significantly less often attended schools offering secondary education. The results suggest that detained juveniles with migration background are poorly integrated into the educational and mental health system of the host society. Family systems, even if substantially dysfunctional, seem to be perceived as more stable by migrant youth than by Austrian youth.

PMID:
20627325
DOI:
10.1016/j.psychres.2010.04.052
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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