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

Journal article
Authors Björn Hofvander
Henrik Anckarsäter
Märta Wallinius
Eva Billstedt
Published in BJPsych open
Volume 3
Issue 2
Pages 78-84
ISSN 2056-4724
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Centre for Ethics, Law, and Mental Health
Pages 78-84
Language en
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry


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.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).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.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).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.None.© The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2017. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) license.

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