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Mental health screenings, risk behavior interventions needed in juvenile justice system
Date:1/28/2008

ti-site HIV prevention program. A quarter of the study participants had an arrest history.

They found that juvenile offenders with significant symptoms of depression, such as feelings of loneliness or worthlessness, reported much greater drug and alcohol use. They were also more likely to use these substances during sex, used condoms less, and had more psychiatric hospitalizations and suicide attempts than arrestees without depressive symptoms.

The authors caution that the studys findings need to be replicated with a larger, more representative sample of kids with depressive symptoms. However, based on these findings, they say substance use and HIV prevention efforts within the juvenile justice system that include strategies to regulate mood may help juvenile offenders reduce emotional distress, thereby reducing the likelihood of risky behaviors.

Models of juvenile correction that address mental health and physical health are crucial, because arrestees contact with the legal system may represent one of few opportunities to address health issues, the authors said.


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Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-432-1328
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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