Crime, Psychology, Pathological
Criminology and Criminal Justice | Psychology
Objective Current knowledge regarding psychiatric disorders and crime in youth is limited to juvenile justice and community samples. This study examined relationships between psychiatric disorders and self-reported crime involvement in a sample of youth representative of the US population. Method The National Comorbidity Survey–Adolescent Supplement (N = 10,123; ages 13–17 years; 2001–2004) was used to examine the relationship between lifetime DSM-IV–based diagnoses, reported crime (property, violent, other), and arrest history. Logistic regression compared the odds of reported crime involvement with specific psychiatric disorders to those without any diagnoses, and examined the odds of crime by psychiatric comorbidity. Results Prevalence of crime was 18.4%. Youth with lifetime psychiatric disorders, compared to no disorders, had significantly greater odds of crime, including violent crime. For violent crime resulting in arrest, conduct disorder (CD) (odds ratio OR = 57.5; 95% CI = 30.4, 108.8), alcohol use disorders (OR = 19.5; 95% CI = 8.8, 43.2), and drug use disorders (OR = 16.1; 95% CI = 9.3, 27.7) had the greatest odds with similar findings for violent crime with no arrest. Psychiatric comorbidity increased the odds of crime. Youth with 3 or more diagnoses (16.0% of population) accounted for 54.1% of those reporting arrest for violent crime. Youth with at least 1 diagnosis committed 85.8% of crime, which was reduced to 67.9% by removing individuals with CD. Importantly, 88.2% of youth with mental illness reported never having committed any crime. Conclusion Our findings highlight the importance of improving access to mental health services for youthful offenders in community settings, given the substantial associations found between mental illness and crime in this nationally representative epidemiological sample.
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Coker, Kendell L.; Smith, Philip H.; Westphal, Alexander; Zonana, Howard V.; and McKee, Sherry A., "Crime and Psychiatric Disorders Among Youth in the US population: An Analysis of the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement" (2014). Psychology Faculty Publications. 23.
Coker, K.L., Smith, P.H., Westphal, A., Zonana, H.V., & McKee, S.A. (2014). Crime and psychiatric disorders among youth in the US population: An analysis of the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53(8), 888-898.e2.