Is childhood criminal justice exposure associated with risk of poor adult mental health?

September 04, 2019

Bottom Line: A childhood history of both personal involvement in the juvenile justice system and parental incarceration was associated with a greater likelihood of depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder in young adulthood compared to peers without those experiences in this observational study. And, having either one of those experiences with the criminal justice system as a child was associated with risk of adverse mental health outcomes. This analysis of a nationally representative survey included 12,379 participants (141 reported experiencing both parental incarceration and juvenile justice involvement) who were in grades 7 to 12 in 1994-1995 and who were 24 to 32 years old at follow-up in 2008. The study didn't account for the nature of offenses contributing to parental incarceration or involvement in the juvenile justice system or the duration of childhood exposure to the criminal justice system. The focus also was on incarceration of biological parents, which doesn't account for children who experienced the incarceration of nonbiological caregivers. Study authors suggest that because childhood exposure to the criminal justice system appears to put people at risk for poor mental health outcomes later, policies to mitigate that impact could help improve their mental well-being as adults.

Authors: Nia Heard-Garris, M.D., M.Sc., of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, and coauthors


Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Nia Heard-Garris, M.D., M.Sc., email Julie Pesch at The full study is linked to this news release.

Embed this link to provide your readers free access to the full-text article This link will be live at the embargo time:

About JAMA Network Open: JAMA Network Open is the new online-only open access general medical journal from the JAMA Network. Every Wednesday and Friday, the journal publishes peer-reviewed clinical research and commentary in more than 40 medical and health subject areas. Every article is free online from the day of publication.

JAMA Network Open

Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Articles from Brightsurf:

Expression of certain genes may affect vulnerability to post-traumatic stress disorder
A new study suggest that whether certain genes are expressed may play a role in susceptibility to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Children & coronavirus infection (COVID-19): How to avoid post-traumatic stress disorder
COVID-19 is a pandemic that has forced many states to declare restrictive measures in order to prevent their wider spread.

Moderate-to-high posttraumatic stress common after exposure to trauma, violence
Over 30 percent of injury survivors who are treated in hospital emergency departments will have moderate-to-severe symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in the first year following the initial incident, new research led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

Exploring the link between daily stress, depression, and Facebook addiction disorder
Researchers have demonstrated a close positive association between daily stress, depression symptoms, and Facebook addiction disorder.

Researchers look to unlock post-traumatic stress disorder puzzle
A team of Penn State and University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine researchers is attempting to answer a question that has long puzzled experts: Why do some individuals suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after experiencing trauma, and others do not?

Post-traumatic stress disorder: alleviating flashbacks by playing Tetris
A behavioural intervention procedure including the computer game Tetris could help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to alleviate involuntarily recurring visual memories of traumatic experiences.

Having stress-related disorder associated with increased risk of developing autoimmune disease
Stress-related disorders brought on by traumatic or stressful life events were associated with increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease.

Posttraumatic stress affects academics
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by traumatic military experiences is associated with feelings of anxiety, anger, sadness and/or guilt.

Progress in posttraumatic stress disorder --Increased understanding points to new approaches for PTSD prevention and treatment
Recent advances in scientific understanding of how posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops and persists may lead to more effective treatment and even prevention of this debilitating disorder, according to the May/June special issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry, published by Wolters Kluwer.

Posttraumatic stress symptoms & posttraumatic growth in children & adolescents following earthquake
Posttraumatic stress symptoms -- including symptoms such as intrusion, avoidance, negative thoughts and feelings, and hyperarousal -- can arise among individuals exposed to natural disasters, yet positive psychological changes, such as posttraumatic growth, can also develop.

Read More: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder News and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to