A Review of Mood Disorders Among Juvenile Offenders

University of Virginia Health System, P.O. Box 800660 Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.
Psychiatric Services (Impact Factor: 2.41). 01/2005; 55(12):1397-407. DOI: 10.1176/
Source: PubMed


This article provides an overview of what is known about the prevalence, diagnosis, and effective treatment of mood disorders among youths, particularly among juvenile offenders, and discusses the unique problems that arise for the delivery of treatment services. The relationship between mood disorders and disruptive or delinquent behaviors as well as the particular importance of proper diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders in this population are discussed.
A search was conducted of the MEDLINE and PsycINFO databases for articles that had been published since 1980 on mood disorders in the juvenile offender population as well as articles on adolescent mood disorders.
The studies on the prevalence of mood disorders among juvenile offenders varied significantly in the methodology used and in the rates of prevalence found, although all studies showed that this population had high rates of mood disorders. The identification and effective treatment of mood disorders is critical because these disorders are a leading cause of suicide among adolescents and because mood disorders may contribute to or exacerbate delinquent and disruptive behaviors.
Juvenile detainees have a constitutional right to needed mental health treatment. More comprehensive mental health services are required to ensure that juvenile offenders with mental illness are identified and cared for appropriately. Doing so not only will alleviate painful symptoms but may also contribute significantly to improvements in psychosocial functioning, interpersonal relations, and school performance and to decreases in delinquent, disruptive, and suicidal behaviors.

Download full-text


Available from: Eileen Patricia Ryan, Oct 18, 2015
  • Source
    • "The nature of these disorders and how they manifest can be quite complex. For example, while the association between depression and conduct disorder has been well-documented (Drabick, Beauchaine, Gadow, Carlson, & Bromet, 2006; Marston et al., 2012) and a strong comorbidity established (Angold, Costello, & Erkanli, 1999; Bird, Gould, & Staghezza, 1993; Pliszka, Sherman, Barrow, & Irick, 2000), there is also evidence which suggests that in the presence of behavioural problems, depression is often " masked " (Glaser, 1967; Lesse, 1968) particularly among young offenders whose depression is shown through aggression or other disruptive behaviours (Rawal, Romansky, & Michael Jenuwine, 2004; Roberts, Chen, & Solovitz, 1995; Ryan & Redding, 2004). For many youth with serious emotional or behavioural problems, the justice system may be the first point of contact for mental health support (Chapman, Desai, & Falzer, 2006) and quite often, their only access to mental health services (Burns et al., 1995). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article examines the risk of internalising and externalising disorders and related service use histories of two groups of youth: one group sampled from justice services, and a second sampled from mental health services. Self-report data from 152 multiple service using youth are included in the present analysis. Data shows that both groups of youth have similar levels of risk for mental health problems and equal levels of engagement in delinquent behaviour. There are however disparities in levels of engagement across service providers: youth engaged predominantly with justice services report much lower levels of engagement with mental health services. Given equal levels of engagement in delinquent behaviour combined with significantly higher levels of engagement with police by youth engaged with justice services, findings suggest that earlier mental health intervention may divert youth from the legal system.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Children and Youth Services Review
  • Source
    • "Depression increased with the frequency of delinquent behaviour in boys as well as in girls. Mood disorders were frequently seen both in incarcerated juvenile delinquents and in juveniles with mixed detention situations with prevalence rates varying between 10 to 78% [5,12]. Furthermore, high scores of adjustment disorders with depressed mood were also observed in outpatient samples [10] and high rates of depressive symptoms based on the Beck’s Depression Inventory [13] were reported [14,15]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background High rates of mental disorders have been found in detained juvenile offenders, whereas the role of psychopathology in non-detained offenders is less clear. Therefore, the present study compared psychopathology in male non-detained delinquent juveniles and two matched samples from the community and an adolescent psychiatric clinic. Methods 125 male adolescents aged 11 to 19 years (m = 16.2 years, SD = 1.5 years) from an outpatient adolescent forensic clinic were compared to a community sample from the Zurich Adolescent Psychology and Psychopathology Study (ZAPPS) and a referred sample from a psychiatric clinic matched for age and nationality. All subjects responded to questionnaires measuring internalizing and externalizing problems, depressive symptoms and self-esteem. Results The sample of non-detained juvenile offenders showed similar rates of self-reported internalizing and externalizing problems when compared to the community sample, whereas the clinic sample displayed an increased rate of various disturbances. Similar results were found also for self-esteem. In agreement with these findings, non-detained juvenile offenders less frequently had a psychiatric diagnosis after full clinical assessment when compared to the clinical sample. However, a diagnosis of conduct disorders and a lower IQ range was found more frequently in non-detained juvenile offenders. Offenders with serious delinquent acts and involving weapons showed higher depression scores than the rest of the offenders. Conclusion In non-detained assessment situations before court examination, juvenile offenders present rather normal behaviour. Their lack of awareness of potential behavioural problems should be considered during assessment and treatment of this group of offenders.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
  • Source
    • "Furthermore, there is substantial evidence for the co-occurrence of adolescent substance use, delinquency and sexual risk-taking behaviors (Kotchick et al. 2001). Considerably greater rates of substance abuse disorders among young offenders places them at significantly greater risk for HIV infection than their non-offending peers (Domalanta et al. 2003; Otto-Salaj et al. 2002; Pliszka et al. 2000; Ryan and Redding 2004). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Family-based interventions targeting parenting factors, such as parental monitoring and parent-child communication, have been successful in reducing adolescent offenders' substance use and delinquency. This pilot, exploratory study focuses on family and parenting factors that may be relevant in reducing juvenile offenders' substance use and sexual risk taking behavior, and in particular examines the role of family emotional involvement and responsiveness in young offenders' risk-taking behaviors. Participants included 53 juvenile drug court offenders and their parents. Results indicate that poor parent-child communication is associated with marijuana use and unprotected sexual activity for young offenders; however, family affective responsiveness is also a significant unique predictor of unprotected sexual activity for these youth. Findings suggest that interventions focused on improving parent-child communication may reduce both marijuana use and risky sexual behavior among court-involved youth, but a specific intervention focused on improving parents and young offenders' ability to connect with and respond to one another emotionally may provide a novel means of reducing unprotected sexual risk behaviors.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Journal of Child and Family Studies
Show more