Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the social, physical, intellectual and psychological characteristics of juvenile delinquents in Dublin.
Method: One hundred consecutive admissions to the St. Michael's Assessment Centre between March 1,1989 and May 31, 1991 were studied. Information was gathered on a wide range of personal, family and social aspects of the delinquents' lives, together with data on their physical, intellectual and psychological profiles.
Results: The majority of subjects came from deprived social and economic backgrounds. 62% of the delinquents were below the 50th percentile for height while 21% were classified as mentally handicapped. The most common psychiatric diagnoses were socialised conduct disorder and mixed disorder of conduct and emotions. Depressive symptoms were endorsed by 12% of the boys and this subgroup tended to engage in more serious offences.
Conclusions: This retrospective study demonstrates the high degree of social, physical, intellectual and psychological disadvantage experienced by Dublin juvenile delinquents and underscores the need for further prospective studies in this poorly understood section of our society.