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Do Earlier Age of Initiation of Substance Use and Criminal Behavior Matter? Survey of Mental Health Problems among Taiwanese Male Juvenile Delinquents

Kuo-Ping Li, Chih-Tsai Chen, Cheng-Hsien Sung, Shih-Kai Liu, Shuan Lee

Objective:The objective of this study was to explore the relationship between earlier age of initiation of substance use, criminal behavior and parental risk factors and later delinquency and psychiatric comorbidity among male juvenile delinquents in Taiwan. Methods:We recruited a sample of 52 participants and divided them into three groups according to their history of criminal behavior and illicit substance use before the age of 15. All of the participants completed a twophase assessment including a self-administered questionnaire and a diagnostic interview with Chinese version of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for Children-Epidemiology Version (K-SADS-E). Results:The mean age of all kinds of substance use was significantly lowest in the group of earlier age of initiation of illicit drug use and criminal behavior (p< 0.05). Adjusting for age, all participants showed a greater chance significantly of having illicit drug use disorder (OR = 2.07, 95% CI = 1.19 -3.61, p< 0.01); MDMA use (OR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.05-2.60, p< 0.05); marijuana use (OR = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.07-2.68, p< 0.05), and amphetamine use (OR = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.02-2.42, p< 0.05) for every oneyear older in age. Conclusion:The study findings showed that early-age male criminal had the tendency of using illicit drug use at lower age, and that those early male criminals tended to use MDMA, marijuana and amphetamine at their lower age.
Key Word psychiatric disorder, juvenile delinquent, illicit drugs, criminal record
Editorial Committe, Taiwanese Journal of Psychiatry
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