Mental health problems in youths committed to juvenile institutions: prevalences and treatment needs.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Many international studies show that adolescents in coercive institutional care display high prevalences of mental disorders, especially in the form of disruptive behavior disorders [including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), oppositional defiant disorder, and conduct disorder], anxiety disorders, and mood disorders. High degrees of overlap across mental disorders have also been reported. In addition, institutionalized adolescents are often traumatized. Despite this well-documented psychiatric morbidity, the mental health care needs of detained adolescents are often overlooked. The main objective of this study is to assess prevalences of psychiatric disorders, results of intelligence tests, and previous contacts with child and adolescent psychiatric services among adolescents in institutional care. DSM-IV diagnoses, mental health contacts, substance abuse, neurocognitive abilities, and school performance were registered in 100 adolescents (92 boys, 8 girls) aged 12-19 years (mean age 16.0; SD ± 1.5) consecutively committed to Swedish juvenile institutions between 2004 and 2007. At least one psychiatric disorder was diagnosed in 73% of the subjects: 48% met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for AD/HD, 17% for an autism spectrum disorder, and 10% for a mental retardation. The collapsed prevalence for psychiatric disorders requiring specialist attention was 63%. Our data indicate that systematic diagnostic procedures are crucial in the treatment planning for institutionalized adolescents. Adequate treatment strategies need to be designed and implemented to meet the extensive mental health care needs of this vulnerable population.

Details

Authors
  • Ola Ståhlberg
  • Henrik Anckarsäter
  • Thomas Nilsson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychiatry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-903
JournalEuropean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume19
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes