Delinquency and Comorbid Conditions

Tamara M. Haegerich and Patrick H. Tolan

in The Oxford Handbook of Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780195385106
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Delinquency and Comorbid Conditions

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  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice


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Youth who engage in delinquent acts are often more troubled than even their most antisocial behavior suggests. Much criminal behavior can be attributed to a child psychiatric disorder. Mental disorders are often seen in delinquent youth, and this relationship is known as comorbidity. Comorbid disorders may be different manifestations of the same disorder. This article reviews the existing evidence of comorbidity of delinquency with common disorders, the delinquent youth suffer from, including substance abuse and substance dependence, depression, etc. Methodological difficulties in assessing the comorbidity of delinquency and other disorders challenge the understanding of the issue and these are highlighted. It then discusses implications and new directions for research. Finally, it describes implications for juvenile justice policy, emphasizing the responsibility of the justice system for identifying and treating delinquent youth with comorbid disorders.

Keywords: delinquency; comorbidity; comorbid disorders; criminal behavior; child psychiatric disorder; methodological difficulties

Article.  10205 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice

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