Leah J. Welty
“This bulletin examines the results of the Northwestern Juvenile Project—a prospective longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL. The authors discuss their findings on the prevalence of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among juvenile detainees and PTSD’s tendency to co-occur with other psychiatric disorders” (p. 1). Sections of this bulletin include: highlights; methods—measures; findings about trauma (overall rates, and specific trauma), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), precipitating traumas, prevalence of trauma by gender and race/ethnicity, prevalence of comorbid psychiatric disorders among youth with and without PTSD, and prevalence of PTSD among youth with and without specific psychiatric disorders; discussion about trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, comorbid disorders, and demographic characteristics; study limitations; directions for future research; and conclusion. Of the youth studied, 92.5% have had at least one traumatic experience, 84% have had more than one trauma, and have had 56.8% six or more events.
“Comprehensive, accurate, and reliable data are needed to guide the development of innovative juvenile justice policy. NJP provides empirical evidence that communities can use to develop and provide appropriate services within detention centers. Because the study is longitudinal, it also provides information about the long-term outcomes of these youth after they leave detention. Findings from NJP [Northwestern Juvenile Project] … provide important information on how to facilitate successful reentry into the community and successful transition to adulthood for youth in the juvenile justice system” (p. 3). Sections of this overview of NJP include: highlights; background; differences between NJP and other longitudinal studies of psychiatric disorder among detained youth; NJP’s overall approach and goals; sampling and interview methods; considerations for measurement; key areas of measurement; overview of selected findings for characteristics of youth in detention and key outcomes of study participants; and summary.