(RxWiki News) Youth offenders may have a higher proportional rate of traumatic brain injury (TBI) than the general population, according to a new study from the University of Exeter's School of Psychology.
The study finds traumatic brain injury to be relatively common in offender groups. TBI may even be linked to subsequent offenses, according to Professor Huw Williams, lead author. (He added that researchers cannot be certain as to whether brain injury, per se, increases the likelihood of repeat offenses.)
Williams said there may be underlying risk factors for TBI's possible correlation with offending behavior, including deprivation, lack of life opportunities, little regard for self-care and risk-taking inclinations.
The study followed young male offenders aged 11 to 19, who were asked to complete questionnaires assessing head injury, crime history, mental health and drug use. A total of 94 percent of those asked, responded to the questionnaire (197 participants in all).
TBI with a loss of consciousness was reported by 46 percent of participants. (TBI is estimated to occur between 5 percent and 30 percent of the general population, depending on age group.)
Williams said screening for TBI should be implemented as part of health assessments for young offenders.
Traumatic brain injury can range from mild to severe. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms include loss of consciousness, dizziness, memory or concentration problems, nausea or vomiting, and headache, among others. Traumatic brain injury is a medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention.