Profiles and Predictors of Reoffending Among Juvenile Delinquents With Concomitant Mental Health and Substance Abuse Problems

Jeffrey M. Jenson, University of Denver
Cathryn C. Potter, University of Denver
William Dietrich, University of Denver
Robin Baker, University of Denver

Results from a longitudinal investigation of mental health and substance abuse problems among 250 incarcerated juvenile delinquents are presented. Offender profiles are constructed on the basis of individual traits, social history charateristics, mental health problem symptoms, substance use, and delinquent conduct. Survival analysis is used to identify factors associated with reoffending two years following intervention in the juvenile justice system. Results reveal three distinct youth clusters, one characterized by high levels of mental health problem symptoms and two characterized by high to moderate delinquency and substance abuse. Participation in family counseling, male gender, and mental health problem symptoms of anxiety and phobia were related to the hazard rate for official indicators of recidivism at two-year follow-up. Implications for treating juvenile offenders with mental health and substance abuse problems are noted.

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Updated 05/20/2006