A cross sectional study of psychiatric morbidity in juvenile boys admitted in an observation home
Keywords:Conduct disorder, Delinquency, Mental health, Observation home, Juvenile
Background: It is estimated that 10-20% of children and adolescents are affected annually by psychiatric problems. Studies in several countries across three continents have repeatedly shown that young offenders have higher rates of psychiatric morbidity than youths in the community. Given the growth of juvenile delinquent population, epidemiologic data on their psychiatric evaluation is becoming increasingly important. Thus, to study the psychiatric morbidity in juvenile delinquent boys in an observation home was undertaken.
Methods: This cross sectional study was conducted in an observation home for boys. Study was approved by the institutional ethics committee. Prior to conducting the study, informed written consent was sought from the superintendent of observation home for boys. The study sample consists of 50 boys from the observation home aged between 6-16 years. Boys from observation home for whom responsible legal authority gave permission were included in the study.
Results: Prevalence of individual psychiatric disorders was as follows: conduct disorder 23 (46%), anxiety disorder 05(10%), oppositional defiance disorder 04 (08%), mild mental retardation 03 (06%), depression 02 (04%), psychosis 01(02%), adjustment disorder 01(02%), disorders of emotions and conduct 01 (02%). In our study prevalence of psychiatric disorder was more common in juveniles under conflict of law (19 out of 20) than juveniles under care and protection (25 out of 30).
Conclusions: Initial screening of juveniles in observation home by expert mental health care professionals is needed for the rational management of psychiatric morbidity and enhancement of their development towards productive adulthood and productive integration into the general society.
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