Research Reports - Association of traumatic brain injury with criminality in adolescent psychiatric inpatients from Northern Finland

Psychiatry Res. 2012 Dec 30;200(2-3):767-72

Luukkainen S, Riala K, Laukkanen M, Hakko H, Räsänen P

The association of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) with criminality,
substance-related disorders and conduct disorders has mainly been studied in
adult populations. In our study we examine the association in an adolescent
population. We used a population-based clinical sample of 508 psychiatric
inpatient adolescents from Northern Finland. The prevalences of TBI and
criminality were 26 (5.1%) and 85 (16.7%), respectively. The information on TBI
was acquired from the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register and on criminality from
the Legal Register Center. DSM-IV diagnoses were obtained by interviewing the
subjects using the semi-structured Schedule for Affective Disorder and
Schizophrenia for School-Age Children, Present and Lifetime (K-SADS-PL).
Adolescents with TBI had significantly more often committed crimes compared to
adolescents without TBI (53.8% vs. 14.7%, respectively). Prevalences of both
violent crimes (42.9% vs. 9.1%) and non-violent crimes (29.4% vs. 6.8%) were also
higher in the TBI group. TBI during childhood and adolescence increased the risk
of any criminality 6.8-fold (95% 3.0-15.2), conduct disorder 5.7-fold (95%
2.1-15.4) and concomitant criminality and conduct disorder 18.7-fold (95%
4.3-80.1). Our results suggest that clinicians working with mentally ill
adolescents who have experienced head injuries should be aware of the increased
risk for delinquency and violent tendencies occurring later in the adolescents'
lives.

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