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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


ANDRADE, Renata Candido de; ASSUMPCAO JUNIOR, Francisco; TEIXEIRA, Ivan Abdalla  and  FONSECA, Vilma Aparecida da Silva. Prevalence of psychiatric disorders in juvenile offenders in the city of Rio de Janeiro (RJ, Brazil). Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.4, pp.2179-2188. ISSN 1678-4561.

The prevalence of juvenile offenders in Brazil, mainly among young females, is on the increase. The literature on this issue indicates an increased incidence of mental disorders among young offenders in several countries, though studies in Brazil are lacking. The aim of this article is to study the prevalence of mental disorders in adolescents from a socio-educational standpoint, taking as a hypothesis the gender difference and the type of offense committed. The instrument used was the K-SADS-PL. As results, we found a high prevalence of psychiatric disorders among juvenile offenders, the most common being: attention deficit hhyperactivity disorder (33.3%); behavioral disorder (77%); oppositional defiant disorder (50%), anxiety disorders (70%), depressive disorder (50%), illicit drug abuse/dependence (70%), and alcohol abuse/dependence (52%). Alcohol abuse/dependence caused a 2.4-fold increase in the probability of adolescents committing a violent offence. Public health authorities should concentrate on early diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in childhood to reduce future violations. It is also suggested that mental health treatment of detained juveniles should be a fundamental part of the recuperation and reintegration of young offenders into society.

Keywords : Delinquency; Behavioral disorder; Psychiatric disorders; Juvenile offenders; Drug abuse; Child psychiatry.

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