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Psychopathology, symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and risk factors in juvenile offenders

Authors Margari F, Craig F, Margari L, Matera E, Lamanna AL, Lecce PA, La Tegola D, Carabellese F

Received 16 October 2014

Accepted for publication 8 December 2014

Published 10 February 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 343—352

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S75942

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang


Francesco Margari,1 Francesco Craig,2 Lucia Margari,2 Emilia Matera,2 Anna Linda Lamanna,Paola Alessandra Lecce,2 Donatella La Tegola,3 Felice Carabellese3

1Psychiatry Unit, 2Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neurosciences and Sense Organs of the Aldo Moro University of Bari, 3Section of Criminology and Forensic Psychiatry, Department of Internal Medicine and Public Medicine, University of Bari, Bari, Italy


Background: The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of potential environmental and psychopathological risk factors, with special focus on symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in a sample of adolescent offenders in relation to the type of crime committed.
Methods: The assessment included data collection and administration of clinical standardized scales such as the Youth Self-Report and Conners’ Adolescent Self-Report Scale. A total of 135 juvenile offenders participated in the study. In relation to the type of crime committed, we identified three groups matched for age and sex (crimes against people, property crimes, and alcohol-drug-related crimes).
Results: Fifty-two percent of juvenile offenders reported educational achievement problems and 34% reported a family history of psychiatric disorders. We detected a statistically significant difference between the three groups with regard to ADHD (P=0.01) and conduct problems (P=0.034). Juvenile offenders who had committed crimes against people showed more ADHD symptoms (18%) and conduct problems (20%) than adolescents who had committed property crimes and alcohol-drug-related crimes. Sixty percent of the juvenile offenders who had committed property crimes and 54% of those who had committed alcohol-drug-related crimes showed problems in academic achievement.
Conclusion: These findings suggest the need to implement specific interventions for prevention and treatment of specific criminal behavior.

Keywords: juvenile offenders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct problems, academic achievement problems, peer relationships, family problems

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