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: Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dissolvable silicon circuits and sensors

Oct 10, 2014

Electronic devices that dissolve completely in water, leaving behind only harmless end products, are part of a rapidly emerging class of technology pioneered by researchers at the University of Illinois ...

Bioengineers create functional 3-D brain-like tissue

Aug 11, 2014

Bioengineers have created three-dimensional brain-like tissue that functions like and has structural features similar to tissue in the rat brain and that can be kept alive in the lab for more than two months.

Recommended for you

Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

Oct 23, 2014

Clinical trials carried out in the former East Germany in the second half of the 20th century were not always with the full knowledge or understanding of participants with some questionable practices taking place, according ...

Schumacher's doctor sees progress after injury

Oct 23, 2014

A French physician who treated Michael Schumacher for nearly six months after the Formula One champion struck his head in a ski accident says he is no longer in a coma and predicted a possible recovery within three years.

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.