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Racialized Gender Differences in Mental Health Service Use, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and Recidivism Among Justice-Involved African American Youth

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Abstract

This study examines the racialized gender differences of mental health service use, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and recidivism for justice-involved African American youth. Analyses were based on the Northwestern Juvenile Project Study, the first prospective longitudinal study that explores the mental health and substance use disorders and needs among a juvenile justice-involved population. Findings indicate that justice-involved African American girls were significantly more likely to receive mental health services at Follow-up 1 compared to boys and have a higher number of cumulative ACEs compared to boys at baseline. African American girls who received mental health services were more likely to be re-arrested compared to African American boys over time. We advocate for culturally responsive and gender responsive services to reduce recidivism among justice-involved African American youth. Furthermore, it is important to recognize bias within the juvenile justice system that may hinder positive outcomes for youth. Implications for practice and policy are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Charmaine Robertson Stoner, LCSW for her insights and contributions. We also would also like to acknowledge Kayla Luttrell and Amber Walsh of The Ohio State University College of Social Work and Jennifer Perillo for their editorial assistance.

Funding

This study was supported by the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

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Correspondence to Abigail Williams-Butler.

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Appendices

Appendix 1

Items comprised within mental health service use variable

Mental health service use

Emotional/behavioral help thru mental health services

Individual counseling

Group counseling

Family counseling

Emotional/behavioral help thru mental health services since the last interview

Inpatient service thru residential treatment center since the last interview

Inpatient service thru group home since the last interview

Inpatient service thru therapeutic foster home since the last interview

Inpatient service thru emergency shelter for emotional/behavioral problem since

Outpatient service thru community mental health center/outpatient mental health

Appendix 2

Items comprised within mental health diagnosis variable

Mental health diagnosis

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Major depression

Overanxious disorder

Obsessive or compulsive disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder

Mania—algorithm #1 or #2

Hypomania—algorithm #1 or #2

Panic disorder

Psychosis screen—adjusted following clinical review

Separation anxiety disorder

Dysthymia

Appendix 3

Items comprised within substance use variable

Substance use

Alcohol dependence

Alcohol abuse

Marijuana dependence

Marijuana abuse

Other substance abuse

Any drug class used three times in the past year and one time in the past 6 months

Other substance dependence

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Williams-Butler, A., Liu, FY., Howell, T. et al. Racialized Gender Differences in Mental Health Service Use, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and Recidivism Among Justice-Involved African American Youth. Race Soc Probl 15, 101–114 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-022-09360-9

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