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September 1975

Violence Among Hospitalized Delinquents

Author Affiliations

From the Institute for Psychosomatic Research and Training, Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center (Drs. Offer and Marohn); the Department of Mental Health, Illinois State Psychiatric Institute (Drs. Marohn and Ostrov); and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago (Drs. Offer and Ostrov). Dr. Offer was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1975;32(9):1180-1186. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1975.01760270112016

• We collected data on the extent of violent behavior among 55 male and female hospitalized juvenile delinquents during a period of three years. Violent behavior was correlated with the adolescent self-image and the ratings of staff and psychotherapists. We found that violent adolescent boys have a healthier self-image and are more liked by their therapists than nonviolent adolescent boys. For the female adolescents, we found the opposite. Initially, the mental health staff liked the nonviolent delinquents better; this finding was no longer significant after the adolescents were on the unit for 13 weeks.

Our discussion focuses on the individual and staff psychodynamics and cultural factors that contribute to the outbreak of violence. Our plan is to further study our data in order to better understand the phenomena of violence.