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Link Between Mental Health Problems and Youth Violence in Adolescence: A Multilevel Test of DSM-Oriented Problems

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2012
22 pages
This strudy examined the early identification of mental illness in youngsters and physical violence.
The early identification of mental illness in youngsters is an important goal for youth, their families, and society. This study utilized continuous indicators of DSM-oriented psychopathology to explore the link between adolescent mental health and physical violence. Relying on data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) and controlling for various community, friend, family, and individual risk factors of violence, the role of various mental health problems on self-reported violence is examined. Both violence prevalence and frequency outcomes were studied. Results indicated that oppositional defiant problems was a weak predictor of violence prevalence but stronger predictor of violence frequency, controlling for other indicators. Other individual-level predictors of violence included prior violence, deviant peers, family criminality and mental health problems, and poor family relations. Community-level predictors were neighborhood ties, neighborhood decline, neighborhood organizations, and anomie, though the latter variable reduced offending. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.

Date Published: August 1, 2012