Psychiatric disorders and comorbidity are prevalent among incarcerated juveniles. To date, no large-scale study has examined the comorbidity and continuity of psychiatric disorders after youth leave detention.

The objective of the study is to determine the comorbidity and continuity of psychiatric disorders among youth five years after detention.

A prospective longitudinal study was conducted of a stratified random sample of 1829 youth (1172 male and 657 female; 1005 African American, 296 non-Hispanic white, 524 Hispanic, and 4 other race/ethnicity) recruited from the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, Chicago, Illinois, between November 20, 1995, and June 14, 1998, and who received their time 2 follow-up interview between May 22, 2000, and April 3, 2004.