Psychiatric symptoms and substance use among juvenile offenders: A latent profile investigation

Michael G. Vaughn, Stacey Freedenthal, Jeffrey M. Jenson, Matthew O. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The high rate of co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problems among antisocial and delinquent youth is a widely recognized problem in the juvenile justice system. Yet few studies have delineated meaningful clinical distinctions in the characteristics of offenders with co-occurring problems. Latent profile analysis was used to identify subgroups of juvenile offenders based on clinically relevant measures of psychiatric symptoms (including past traumatic experiences), lifetime substance use, and drug- and alcohol-related problems stemming from the use of psychoactive substances in a statewide population (n = 723). Findings revealed that a four-class solution fit the data optimally. The four classes identified represented a severity-based gradient of symptom and substance use endorsement ranging from a mild subgroup (n = 195; 27.0%), to moderately low ( n = 250; 34.6%) and high (n = 197; 27.2%) subgroups, and finally, a severely distressed subgroup (n = 81; 11.2%). Implications for identifying and treating young offenders with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problems are noted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1296-1312
Number of pages17
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Volume34
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Oct 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law

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