Vol. 6, No. 1, 2000 Page 4

Affective disorders again linked to crime

Depression and mania are very common in juvenile offenders, according to a new study by S. R. Pliszka and colleagues.

The researchers screened 50 11-to17-year-olds at an urban juvenile detention center, and report that 10 of the children (or 20 percent) met criteria for mania, another 10 met criteria for major depressive disorder, and one had bipolar disorder. "There wa as a strong association between affective disorder and conduct disorder," the researchers say, "[and] adolescents with mania had much higher rates of reported abuse of substances other than alcohol or marijuana."

Pliszka et al. conclude, "Further studies are needed to examine the relationship of affective disorder to substance abuse as well as to antisocial behavior."

The new study supports earlier research by Jiri Modestin and colleagues (see related article, Crime Times, 1997, Vol. 3, No. 4, Page 6) indicating that subjects with a history of hospitalization for affective disorders were substantially more likely to have criminal records than matched controls. In addition, research by Maurizio Fava and colleagues has shown that young depressed patient ts have a very high incidence of anger attacks compared to non-depressed controls, and that treatment with Prozac reduces levels of hostility in depressed subjects.


"Affective disorder in juvenile offenders: a preliminary study," S. R. Pliszka, J. O. Sherman, M. V. Barrow, and S. Irick, American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 157, No. 1, January 2000, pp. 130-132. Address not listed.

Related Article: [2000, Vol. 6] [2001, Vol. 7]

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