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MDEs Increasing for Female Juvenile Offenders

Compr Psychiatry; ePub 2017 Sep 12; Holzer, et al

The prevalence of past year major depressive episodes (MDEs) is increasing for female juvenile offenders, highlighting a need for improved efforts to target these populations for prevention and treatment, a recent study found. Data were collected between 2005 and 2014 as part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Participants included 171,118 youth aged 12–17 (159,449 non-offenders and 11,669 offenders). The primary variable of interest was self-reported past year MDE. Researchers found:

  • The prevalence of MDEs among female youth increased for both offender and non-offender groups: from 24.4% to 33.0% for the offenders and from 12.4% to 16.7% for the non-offenders.
  • No significant trend changes were observed among male youth.
  • In both male and female juvenile offenders, MDEs were associated with increased risk of illicit drug use (males OR=1.61; females OR=1.83).
  • Additional correlates include alcohol use among male offenders (OR = 1.36), and binge drinking in female offenders (OR=1.24).


Holzer KJ, Oh S, Salas-Wright CP, Vaughn MG, Landess J. Gender differences in the trends and correlates of major depressive episodes among juvenile offenders in the United States. [Published online ahead of print September 12, 2017]. Compr Psychiatry. doi:10.1016/j.comppsych.2017.09.005.

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