Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders in the Texas Juvenile Correctional System

May 25, 2016

Most studies assessing the burden of psychiatric disorders in juvenile correctional facilities have been based on small or male-only samples or have focused on a single disorder. Using electronic data routinely collected by the Texas juvenile correctional system and its contracted medical provider organization, we estimated the prevalence of selected psychiatric disorders among youths committed to Texas juvenile correctional facilities between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2008 (N = 11,603). Ninety-eight percent were diagnosed with at least one of the disorders. Highest estimated prevalence was for conduct disorder (83.2%), followed by any substance use disorder (75.6%), any bipolar disorder (19.4%), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (18.3%), and any depressive disorder (12.6%). The estimated prevalence of psychiatric disorders among these youths was exceptionally high and showed patterns by sex, race/ethnicity, and age that were both consistent and inconsistent with other juvenile justice samples.

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