Psychopathology -- Juvenile Delinquency

McGlannan, Frances; Lewis, Dorothy Otnow; Balla, David A.
April 1974
Journal of Learning Disabilities;Apr1974, Vol. 7 Issue 4, p210
Academic Journal
This article reports that an unexpectedly high incidence of severe psychopathology was found among delinquent children referred to a juvenile court clinic. This study was conducted by Dorothy Otnow Lewis and David Balla of the Yale University Child Study Center, and reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry by Lewis. In fact, the incidence of psychotic disturbance in this referred court population was significantly higher than that of a child guidance treatment clinic in the same city. To corroborate these findings, the incidence of later psychiatric hospitalization in a population of male children coming through the court in two separate one-year periods in the 1940's and 1950's was investigated. It was concluded that the children referred to the clinic by the juvenile court did not represent a grossly biased segment of the court's case load. This adds weight to the premise that the juvenile court population is at extremely high risk for severe psychiatric disorder. Emphasis is usually placed on social and characterologic aspects of delinquency, rather than suspected psychopathology. Observations in the study were based on symptomatology rather than on diagnoses. The reasons for this were the characteristic striking behavioral changes of adolescents and because diagnostic criteria for distinct psychiatric entities, especially in children and adolescents, are not well defined.


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