Differential Effects of Mental Health Problems Among Truant Youths

Richard Dembo, Jennifer Wareham, James Schmeidler, Rhissa Briones-Robinson, Ken C. Winters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Research indicates at-risk youth are more likely to experience emotional and psychological problems. Young people who are often truant from school represent a group of at-risk youth, but one for which mental health issues are understudied. This study examined heterogeneity of mental health problems among a sample of 300 truant adolescents using latent class analysis (LCA). LCA indicated the sample of truants was best represented by four latent subgroups of youth with low mental health problems; high depression, low mania; high mania, low depression; and high depression and mania. These subgroups were examined in relation to sociodemographic and psychosocial measures at baseline and after truancy offenses. Results indicated general and unique differences in these covariates across the four latent classes. Service and practice implications of better understanding mental health issues of truant youth are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-427
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Behavioral Health Services and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research reported in this article was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), grant no. DA021561, and completed at the University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL. We are grateful for NIDA’s support. We are also grateful for the collaboration and support of our work by the Tampa Police Department, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), the Hillsborough County Public Schools, the Agency for Community Treatment Services, and 13th Judicial Circuit, Juvenile Diversion Program. We appreciate Ms. Kimberly Barrett’s assistance on this project between 2009 and 2011. Sgt. Williams from the HCSO was a great help in obtaining adult arrest data for us.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, National Council for Behavioral Health.


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