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What Are The Factors Associated With Criminal Behaviour For Young People With Mental Health Problems?
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-26, 05:41 authored by SM Shepherd, R Purcell
Rates of offending peak in adolescence and associations between mental ill health and criminal behaviour have been well documented. Despite this, few studies have examined the nature or correlates of offending behaviours in young people with mental health problems, particularly in community settings. This study examined salient risk markers associated with police contact in a cohort of 802 young people (aged 12–25 years) seeking help from youth mental health services in Australia. Explanatory factors for analysis were obtained using validated clinical and psychosocial measures that participants completed via both interview and self-report. Regression analyses were conducted to determine which factors demonstrated the strongest associations with self-reported criminal charges. The results indicated that male gender, not being engaged in education, employment or training, frequent drug use and having experienced multiple adverse life events were related to police contact. This study indicates that the risk factors for offending commonly found in the general criminological literature are also those associated with offending in young people with mental health problems. The findings denote the need for a comprehensive therapeutic approach for such patients that accommodate both their clinical as well as criminogenic needs.