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Mental health among young adults in prison: The importance of childhood-onset conduct disorder

  • Björn Hofvander (a1), Henrik Anckarsäter (a2), Märta Wallinius (a3) and Eva Billstedt (a4)
Abstract
Background

The psychiatric health burden of prisoners is substantial. However, there is a lack of high-quality studies of psychiatric disorders among young adults with a high risk of reoffending.

Aims

To investigate the lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders and use of mental health services among young male violent offenders and the impact of childhood-onset conduct disorder (COCD).

Method

A nationally representative cohort (n = 270, age 18–25) of male offenders was followed back in medical records and clinically assessed by gold standard methods. Lifetime prevalences are presented together with odds ratios (ORs) as risk estimates in relation to COCD.

Results

Previous use of psychiatric services among the participants was high but their lifetime psychiatric morbidity was even higher, with 93% meeting criteria for at least one Axis I disorder. The COCD group was overrepresented in most clinical categories and carried five times higher odds (OR = 5.1, 95% CI 2.0–12.8) of a psychotic disorder, three times higher odds (OR = 3.2, 95% CI 1.2–8.5) of a substance use disorder and two times higher odds of a mood disorder (OR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.3–4.0) or anxiety disorder (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.1–3.5).

Conclusions

The mental health burden is substantial among young violent offenders, and COCD is an important indicator of future mental health problems which must be a priority for public health efforts.

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Copyright
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) license.
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Björn Hofvander, Division of Forensic Psychiatry, Sege Park B6, plan 2, SE-20502 Malmö, Sweden. Tel: +46 40 33 56 23. Email: bjorn.hofvander@med.lu.se
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Mental health among young adults in prison: The importance of childhood-onset conduct disorder

  • Björn Hofvander (a1), Henrik Anckarsäter (a2), Märta Wallinius (a3) and Eva Billstedt (a4)
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