Prevalence and Correlates of Psychiatric Disorders among Residents of a Juvenile Remand Home in Nigeria: Implications for Mental Health Service Planning
BACKGROUND: Research has established that psychiatric disorders are common among children and adolescents within the juvenile justice system. However, the bulk of these researches had been from the developed countries, with very limited data from sub-Sahara Africa. In a region like sub-Sahara Africa with acute shortage of mental healthcare resources, availability of data on mental health needs of children within the juvenile justice system is about the only way to ensure that they are not excluded from needed services. This study aims to determine the pattern, prevalence and correlates of psychiatric disorders among the residents of a juvenile justice facility in Nigeria and to speculate appropriate policy responses.
METHODS: Using a cross-sectional comparative study design, 60 consecutive residents of the Ibadan juvenile Remand home and 60 randomly selected age- and gender-matched school going adolescents were evaluated for the presence of current and lifetime psychiatric disorders. The Kiddies Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia was used to assess psychiatric disorders. Logistic regression was done to determine socio-demographic variables that were independently associated with the presence of lifetime psychiatric disorders
RESULTS: Thirty eight (63%) of the Remand Home participants had at least one lifetime psychiatric disorder compared with 14 (23%) among the comparison group (p < 0.001). Thirteen (22%) of the Remand Home participants had at least one current psychiatric disorder compared with 2 (3%) among the comparison group (p = 0.004). Disruptive behaviour disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders were the most common psychiatric disorders among the Remand Home residents. Indices of family disruption and inconsistency in caregivers were the key predictors of psychiatric disorders.
CONCLUSION: Study has established further that psychiatric disorders are common among children within the juvenile justice system and that there is a need for appropriate policy response. Some policy directions were highlighted.
KEY WORDS: Juvenile justice, psychiatric disorders, remand home, mental health, policy