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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine