About 65-70% of the incarcerated juveniles have a mental disorder. Juveniles in justice settings have significantly more often a mental disorder compared to their peers without juvenile justice contacts. Only about a third of the juvenile justice youth with a psychiatric disorder have received prior treatment in the community. Some evidence exists that mental health problems are predictive of reoffending. Knowledge on mental health problems in juvenile justice is crucial in order to be able to treat delinquent youngsters adequately and to prevent reoffending. Not much is known about which risk factors are linked to particular mental disorders in justice-involved juveniles and to what extent mental health problems are related to future offending patterns. The current project aims 1) to demonstrate which risk factors explain mental health problems in juvenile justice youth, 2) to determine how mental health problems are linked to patterns of future reoffending, and 3) to identify potential gender differences in antecedents and consequences of mental disorders in juvenile justice youth. To reach the objectives I will bring together knowledge from criminology, developmental psychology and psychiatry and will be supervised by a multidisciplinary team. The investigation and training will take place in an outgoing phase of 1 year at the Columbia University NYSPI and a return phase at the University of Amsterdam CDE. At Columbia extensive expertise and data on psychiatric disorders in juvenile justice is present, which is not available in the Netherlands. The training abroad will enable me to conduct research on mental disorders in juvenile justice in Europe, which is important for scientific and societal purposes. The expertise on mental health issues in juvenile justice is very relevant for European countries, given that mental health problems in juvenile justice youth are significant and concerns with regard to serious juvenile delinquency and public safety are high.
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