Traumatic brain injury to delinquent teens associated with mental problems

Sep 25, 2008

Nearly one out of five delinquent youths suffer from traumatic brain injury, which can contribute to wide ranging mental illnesses, a new University of Michigan study shows.

These troubled teens had a significantly earlier onset of criminal and substance-using behaviors, more lifetime substance abuse problems and suicidal tendencies than youths without traumatic brain injury (TBI), said Brian Perron, assistant professor in the U-M School of Social Work.

A traumatic brain injury is a head injury causing unconsciousness for more than 20 minutes. The findings suggest that fights and other assaults may have been a significant source of these injuries.

The researchers used interviews from 720 residents in Missouri rehabilitation facilities. The youths' ages ranged from 11 to 20, and 87 percent of the sample were male. About 132 teens reported having a traumatic brain injury.

Respondents with the brain injury were significantly more likely than their counterparts without it to have used heroin (11 percent versus 5 percent), cocaine or crack cocaine (36 percent versus 21 percent), marijuana (93 percent versus 85 percent) and ecstasy (33 percent versus 17 percent).

When including demographic factors, the research indicates that boys were at higher risks for traumatic brain injury than girls.

Researchers said the study did not assess the severity of the brain injury or treatment received following it.

"Some youths with more severe TBI and unmet treatment need may have greater functional impairments than the overall trends suggest," said Perron, who co-wrote the study with Matthew Howard, a professor at the University of North Carolina.

The findings appear in current issue of Criminal Behavior and Mental Health.

Provided by University of Michigan

Explore further: 'Ice Bucket Challenge' passes $100 mn mark

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Danish museum discovers unique gift from Charles Darwin

2 hours ago

The Natural History Museum of Denmark recently discovered a unique gift from one of the greatest-ever scientists. In 1854, Charles Darwin – father of the theory of evolution – sent a gift to his Danish ...

Watching others play video games is the new spectator sport

2 hours ago

As the UK's largest gaming festival, Insomnia, wrapped up its latest event on August 25, I watched a short piece of BBC Breakfast news reporting from the festival. The reporter and some of the interviewees appeared baff ...

Recommended for you

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

Aug 28, 2014

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal

Aug 27, 2014

U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a ...

Mind over matter for people with disabilities

Aug 26, 2014

People with serious physical disabilities are unable to do the everyday things that most of us take for granted despite having the will – and the brainpower – to do so. This is changing thanks to European ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

sheber
not rated yet Sep 25, 2008
Kids with behavior problems are always considered first to have psychological problems without physical reasons. I am glad someone is finally caring enough to find out. Missouri you are progressive in your treatment of juveniles. Now if you'll just ban paddling in the public schools we may well be fit for the 21st century!
THEY
not rated yet Sep 26, 2008
This is a no brainer! (sorry about the bad pun) ANYONE suffering a traumatic brain injury has a high risk of mental illness.