Affective disorder in juvenile offenders: A preliminary study

Steven R. Pliszka, James O. Sherman, M. Virginia Barrow, Shiela Irick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Objective: The authors' goal was to determine the prevalence of major mental disorders and substance abuse in adolescents admitted to a juvenile detention center. Method: As part of a routine mental health screening, modules from the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children were administered to 50 youths (11-17 years old) at an urban juvenile detention center. Results: A high rate of affective disorder (42%) was found among these adolescents: 10 (20%) met criteria for mania, another 10 met criteria for major depressive disorder, and one met criteria for bipolar disorder, mixed type. Thirty (60%) met criteria for conduct disorder, and very high rates of alcohol, marijuana, and other substance dependence were found. There was a strong association between affective disorder and conduct disorder; adolescents with mania had much higher rates of reported abuse of substances other than alcohol or marijuana. Conclusions: Juvenile offenders have high rates of affective disorder. Further studies are needed to examine the relationship of affective disorder to substance abuse as well as to antisocial behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-132
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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