DSM-III diagnoses and offenses in committed female juvenile delinquents.
W. C. Myers, R. C. Burket, W. B. Lyles, L. Stone and J. P. Kemph,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
18(1): 47-54, 1990.
The relationship between juvenile delinquency and psychiatric disorders remains poorly understood.
However, it is becoming more apparent that the spectrum of psychiatric illness present in juvenile
delinquents is broader than once believed. Fifteen female juvenile delinquents committed to a
residential treatment program were assessed for DSM-III diagnoses, using a structured diagnostic
interview, the Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents (DICA). A search of the literature
revealed no other reports using the DICA in female juvenile delinquents. A broad spectrum of
current and past diagnoses was discovered, including conduct disorder (100%), substance
abuse/dependence (87%), major depression (67%), and anxiety disorders (47%). The average number
of lifetime diagnoses per subject was 4.7; current diagnoses averaged 3.4 per subject. Additionally,
criminal and status offense records were obtained for each subject. No significant relationship was
noted between diagnoses and categories of offense. These results add further evidence for the
presence of frequent and severe psychiatric disturbances in this population, and the need for
increased clinical and research efforts by the psychiatric community.