Research Reports - Prevalence of traumatic brain injury in juvenile offenders: A meta-analysis

Farrer TJ, Frost RB, Hedges DW.

Child Neuropsychol. 2012 Feb 28

Studies of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among adult populations demonstrate that such injuries can lead to aggressive behaviors. Related findings suggest that incarcerated individuals have high rates of brain injuries. Such studies suggest that traumatic brain injury may be related to the etiology and recidivism of criminal behavior. Relatively few studies have examined the prevalence of TBI using a delinquent juvenile sample. In order to assess the relationship between TBI and juvenile offender status, the current study used meta-analytic techniques to examine the odds of having a TBI among juvenile offenders. Across 9 studies, we found that approximately 30% of juvenile offenders have sustained a previous brain injury. Across 5 studies that used a control group, a calculated summary odds ratio of 3.37 suggests that juvenile offenders are significantly more likely to have a TBI compared to controls. Results suggest that the rate of TBIs within the juvenile offender population is significant and that there may be a relationship between TBIs and juvenile criminal behavior.

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