University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository


Family Practice


Dr. Thomas Colletti


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to review mental illness in adolescents that results primarily from but not limited to their childhood traumas and its relation to their future incarceration.

Method: A PubMed and Google Scholar literature search was conducted with search terms adolescent mental health, childhood traumas, adolescents and incarceration, and mental health and incarceration.

Results: Data collected from multiple studies indicates that the majority of adolescents in the juvenile justice system meet the criteria for at least one mental health disorder.1-8 The root cause of mental illness in these adolescents was correlated with adverse childhood traumas.2,4,9-12

Conclusion: The correlation between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and adolescent mental illness is well established. This relationship is cumulative in nature. The most common mental health disorders in adolescents are anxiety, depression, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), conduct disorder, and substance use disorder.2,9,11,13 Trauma and the resulting mental illness exponentially increases the chance of involvement in the juvenile justice system and the risk of future incarceration.1,2,9,14


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