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Juveniles in Detention at High Risk of Brain trauma

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Juveniles who are in detention at a much higher risk of suffering brain trauma as a result of exposure to violence. According to the results of a new study released recently by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, most of the youth in the study who were in detention had been exposed to one or more traumatic events.

The Office of Justice program is aimed at controlling and preventing youth-related crime and assisting victims. The report titled PTSD, Trauma and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders and Detained Youth is the second report from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's series on the conclusions of the Northwestern Juvenile Project. This program is based on data that was collected from more than 1800 juveniles arrested and detained in Cook County, Illinois between 1995 and 1998.

Out of the juveniles who were researched as part of the study, the researchers found that 93% had previously been exposed to trauma. Further, at least 57% were exposed to trauma at least six or more times. Male juveniles were much more likely to report trauma, compared to females.

The study also found that this exposure to trauma increased the risk of the development of symptoms of post- traumatic stress disorder among these juvenile delinquents. As many as 11% of the participants in the study were diagnosed with post- traumatic stress disorder over the past 12 months. Out of the persons who were diagnosed with symptoms of post- traumatic stress disorder, more than 50% reported witnessing violence during detention as the main factor that triggered the post- traumatic stress disorder. 93 percent suffered from at least one additional comorbid psychiatric disorder.


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