Effects of institutional confinement for delinquency on levels of depression and anxiety among male adolescents

Helene R. White, Jing Shi, Paul Hirschfield, Eun Young Mun, Rolf Loeber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Youths within the juvenile justice system report higher rates of mental illnesses than their peers. This study tested whether institutional confinement increases levels of depression and anxiety among male adolescents. The authors examined heterogeneous trajectories of depression and anxiety from ages 11 to 14 years for 510 male adolescents. Youths who were first placed in custody at age 15 (treatment group) were matched with control boys (no official arrest or reported confinement during adolescence) within each trajectory group using a propensity score (PS) matching procedure. Matches were found for 37 pairs for depression and 34 pairs for anxiety. There were no significant differences between the confined and control groups in levels of depression or anxiety at age 16. More research is needed to identify aspects of the juvenile justice system, which may positively or negatively affect youth's mental health status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-313
Number of pages19
JournalYouth Violence and Juvenile Justice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2010



  • adolescents
  • confinement
  • juvenile justice
  • mental health
  • residential placement

Cite this