State-Level Data on Juvenile Delinquency and Violence, Mental-Health and Psychotropic-Medication Related Issues, and School Accountability, United States, 1990-2014
Tested a possible explanation for the Great American Crime Decline of the 1990s and especially 2000s: the increasing rates at which psychotropic drugs are prescribed, especially to children and adolescents. Psychotropic drugs are often prescribed to youth for mental health conditions that involve disruptive and impulsive behaviors and learning difficulties. The effects of these drugs are thus expected to lead to the decrease in the juveniles' involvement in delinquency and violence. The effects of 2 legislative changes are hypothesized to have contributed to the increased prescribing of psychotropic drugs to children growing up in families in poverty: 1) changes in eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that made it possible for poor children to qualify for additional financial assistance due to mental health conditions (1990 and 1996), and 2) changes in school accountability rules following the passage of No Child Left Behind Act (2002) that put pressure on schools in some low-income areas to qualify academically challenged students as having ADHD or other learning disabilities. The objectives of the project are: 1) to assemble a data set, using state-level data from various publicly available sources, containing information about trends in juvenile delinquency and violence, trends in psychotropic drug prescribing to children and adolescents, and various control variables associated with these two sets of trends; 2) to test the proposed hypotheses about the effect of increasing psychotropic medication prescribing to children and adolescents on juvenile delinquency and violence, using the assembled data set; and 3) to disseminate the scientific knowledge gained through this study among criminal justice researchers, psychiatric and public health scientists, as well as among a wider audience of practitioners and the general public.
- Single study
- United States
- State-Level Data on Juvenile Delinquency and Violence, Mental-Health and Psychotropic-Medication Related Issues, and School Accountability, United States, 1990-2014
- Single study