What is it about?

Adolescents and young adults seem to adjust to custody less well when they are placed in institutions with other adults, and better when they are placed in institutions intended for young people. The evidence for this comes mostly from studies with adolescents, and from correctional institutions rather than forensic hospitals. In this study, we found that younger age was related to worse adjustment to a forensic hospital - that is, younger men had more assaults and other institutional management problems. However, when we compared young adults (aged 18-24) to older men who had similar psychiatric problems before admission, there was no difference.

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Why is it important?

We found that pre-admission problems such as psychiatric history and adverse childhood experiences are related to institutional adjustment. Paying attention to young adults' history of psychiatric and other problems could help support their adjustment when they are admitted to forensic hospital.


This is one of the first studies of young adults in forensic hospital. I hope it encourages more developmentally appropriate care for young people in our hospitals and more research with this vulnerable group.

Dr N Zoe Hilton
University of Toronto

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This page is a summary of: Institutional adjustment of young adults undergoing forensic assessment, Psychology Crime and Law, August 2020, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/1068316x.2020.1798429.
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