Prevalence of psychiatric disorders, comorbidity patterns, and repeat offending among male juvenile detainees in South Korea: A cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Background: High rates of psychiatric disorders and comorbidities have been reported in juvenile detainees, and both phenomena are thought to contribute to repeat offending. However, research on this topic has been limited in Asian countries, like South Korea. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of psychiatric disorders, comorbidity patterns, and the relationship between psychiatric disorders and repeat offending among a cross-section of youths detained in a male juvenile detention center in South Korea. Methods: One hundred seventy-three juvenile detainees were recruited. The distribution of psychiatric disorders within the sample was estimated by applying criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV. Logistic regression was used to assess significant comorbidity patterns and relationships between psychiatric disorders and repeat offending. Results: In all, 90.8% of the detainees had at least one psychiatric diagnosis, and 75.1% had psychiatric comorbidities. The most common psychiatric disorder was alcohol use disorder, followed by conduct disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Among the comorbidities present, alcohol use disorder with disruptive behavior disorder was the most common combination. The presence of two psychiatric disorders was associated with a higher rate of recidivism, and alcohol use disorder was also associated with repeat offending when combined with disruptive behavior disorders, but not with anxiety disorders, major depression, or psychotic disorders. Conclusions: Juvenile detainees evidence high rates of psychiatric disorders and comorbidities. Assessment of and intervention in psychiatric disorders, especially alcohol use disorder and comorbid alcohol use disorder with disruptive behavior disorders, may help prevent further offenses.

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Kim, J. I., Kim, B., Kim, B. N., Hong, S. B., Lee, D. W., Chung, J. Y., … Youn, M. (2017). Prevalence of psychiatric disorders, comorbidity patterns, and repeat offending among male juvenile detainees in South Korea: A cross-sectional study. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-017-0143-x

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