Predictors of involvement in the juvenile justice system among psychiatric hospitalized adolescents

Academic Article


  • Objective: Several risk factors for juvenile justice involvement have been identified in previous research among delinquents and include mental illness, substance use, trauma and abuse, family dysfunction, poor parenting, school problems, and aggressive behavior. However, most of these predictors resulted from studies among adolescents incarcerated in the juvenile justice system. We were interested in finding out the prevalence rates of juvenile justice involvement among psychiatric inpatient adolescents and determining predictors of juvenile justice involvement in this high-risk group. Methods: Six hundred and thirty-six medical records from adolescents ages 12-17¬†years who were consecutively admitted to one of two psychiatric inpatient units between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2004 were examined. Results: Almost half (43.6%) of hospitalized adolescents had a history of juvenile justice involvement. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine predictors of juvenile justice involvement. Significant predictors of juvenile justice involvement included being male, parental legal history, family substance abuse history, disruptive disorder, cocaine use, being sexually active, and having a history of aggressive behavior. Conclusions: Adolescents in mental health or substance abuse treatment settings should be screened for juvenile justice involvement and appropriate referrals made to prevent worsening problems for at-risk youth. ¬© 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cropsey KL; Weaver MF; Dupre MA
  • Start Page

  • 942
  • End Page

  • 948
  • Volume

  • 33
  • Issue

  • 7