Prevalence of psychiatric disorders among teenage offenders

Jorge Gaete, Nicolás Labbé, Paloma del Villar, Catalina Allende, Eduardo Valenzuela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


All rights reserved. Background: There has been a significant number of adolescents admitted to National Youth Service of Chile (SENAME) detention centers in recent years, specifically since the promulgation of a law reform on juveniles’ penal responsibility for people aged 14 to 18 years (2006). Aim: To determine the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in adolescent male offenders aged between 14 and 17 years. Material and Methods: The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Kids and Adolescents (MINI-KID) was applied to 489 adolescents admitted to detention centers, to determine the presence of psychiatric disorders. (Hypo) maniac episodes, eating disorders, pervasive developmental disorders, tic disorders, and psychotic disorders were excluded. Furthermore, for purposes of analysis, 23 cases that used a substance of abuse or had signs of consumption the day of the interview were excluded. Results: Eighty six percent of respondents had at least one psychiatric disorder. The most common were substance use disorders (76%). Among these, marijuana dependence disorder had the higher frequency (51%). Disruptive behavior disorders had also a high prevalence (38%), followed by anxiety disorders (27%), attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (26%), and affective disorders (21%). Conclusions: There is a high prevalence of psychiatric morbidity among teenage offenders which could undermine rehabilitation.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1377-1384
Number of pages8
JournalRevista Medica de Chile
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Mental Health
  • Prevalence

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