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Substance abuse is clearly associated with criminal recidivism among offenders with and without mental disorder. Treatment for substance abuse correlates with lower rates of re-offending among participants in outpatient-based as well as institution-based substance abuse treatment programs. However, for offenders with mental disorder, research on the possible preventive effect of substance abuse treatment on criminal recidivism is sparse. This paper reports from on an ongoing naturalistic and prospective interview study on the relationship between post-release outpatient substance abuse treatment and re-offending.
The Stockholm county sample comprises 246 offenders of both genders subjected to a forensic psychiatric assessment, who screened positive for substance abuse problems. Eighty-five percent (n=210) agreed to participate in the study. Baseline data and follow-up interview data, collected immediately on release from incarceration (prison/forensic hospital) and 6 and 12 months later, include self-reported substance abuse, treatment involvement and criminality. By February 2010, data will be available from the first follow-up for 150 participants, from the second follow-up for 80 individuals and from the third follow-up for 10 subjects.
Results and conclusions
The focus of the presentation will be recidivism comparisons between substance abuse treatment utilizers and those who decline treatment. Data on ongoing levels of substance abuse, mental health problems and offending will serve as dependent variables. Additional analyses will present perceived benefit from and reasons for accepting or rejecting treatment.
Substance abuse is associated with criminal recidivism. Substance abuse treatment has been found to correlate negatively with re-offending among treatment utilizers. However, for offenders with mental health problems and substance abuse, research on how substance abuse treatment affects re-offending is sparse.
The study aimed to examine the relationship between self-reported outpatient-based substance abuse treatment and self-reported a) re-offending, b) substance use and c) psychiatric problems among offenders with mental health and substance use problems.
Data were gathered from a naturalistic follow-up study with 208 participants, subjected to a court-ordered psychiatric assessment. This analysis covers 91 individuals who were followed-up after an average study period of 17 months. Among these, 68% had been sentenced to institutional imprisonment or forensic psychiatric care.
Offences, substance use and psychiatric problems declined between baseline and follow-up. However, the reduction was not associated with self-reported treatment utilization. Among participants who were sentenced to non-institutional corrections, more individuals had utilized outpatient-based treatment compared to individuals who were sentenced to imprisonment or forensic psychiatric care.
A definitive conclusion about the effect of treatment is difficult to draw. For instance, self-reported data may not reflect actual treatment consumption. However, one interpretation is that participants naturally recovered over time. Institutional correction might also have resulted in positive outcomes equivalent to outpatient-based treatment.
Psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) and juvenile mania in adolescence index risk for severe psychopathology in adulthood. The importance of childhood problems with communication, reading, speech and mathematics for the development of PLEs and juvenile mania is not well understood.
Through the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden, we identified 5812 children. The parents were interviewed about their children's development at age 9 or 12 years. At age 15 or 18 years, children and parents completed questionnaires targeting current PLEs and juvenile mania symptoms. Logistic regressions were used to assess associations between problems with communication, reading, speech and mathematics and PLEs/juvenile mania symptoms. To evaluate the relative importance of genes and environment in these associations, we used bivariate twin analyses based on structural equation models.
Children with parent-endorsed childhood problems with communication, reading and mathematics had an increased risk of developing auditory hallucinations and parental-reported juvenile mania symptoms in adolescence. The most consistent finding was that children with childhood problems with communication, reading and mathematics had an increased risk of developing auditory hallucinations [for example, the risk for self-reported auditory hallucinations at age 15 was increased by 96% for children with communication problems: OR (odds ratio) 1.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.33–2.88]. The twin analyses showed that genetic effects accounted for the increased risk of PLEs and juvenile mania symptoms among children with communication problems.
Childhood problems with communication, reading and mathematics predict PLEs and juvenile mania symptoms in adolescence. Similar to the case for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, PLEs and juvenile mania may share genetic aetiological factors.
Autistic-like traits (ALTs), that is restrictions in intuitive social interaction, communication and flexibility of interests and behaviors, were studied in two population-based Swedish twin studies, one in children and one in adults: (1) to examine whether the variability in ALTs is a meaningful risk factor for concomitant attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, conduct problems, depression and substance abuse, and (2) to assess whether common genetic and environmental susceptibilities can help to explain co-existence of ALTs and traits associated with such concomitant problems.
Two nationwide twin cohorts from Sweden (consisting of 11 222 children and 18 349 adults) were assessed by DSM-based symptom algorithms for autism. The twins were divided into six groups based on their degree of ALTs and the risk for concomitant mental health problems was calculated for each group. Genetic and environmental susceptibilities common to ALTs and the other problem types were examined using bivariate twin modeling.
In both cohorts, even the lowest degree of ALTs increased the risk for all other types of mental health problems, and these risk estimates increased monotonically with the number of ALTs. For all conditions, common genetic and environmental factors could be discerned. Overall, the phenotypic correlation between ALTs and the traits examined were less pronounced in adulthood than in childhood and less affected by genetic compared with environmental factors.
Even low-grade ALTs are relevant to clinical psychiatry as they increase the risk for several heterotypical mental health problems. The association is influenced partly by common genetic and environmental susceptibilities. Attention to co-existing ALTs is warranted in research on a wide range of mental disorders.