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Why do girls freak out? Exploring female rage among adolescents admitted to adolescent forensic psychiatric inpatient care

Riittakerttu Kaltiala-Heino, Hanna Putkonen & Markku Eronen
Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology

Vol. 24, No. 1, 01 Feb 2013, Pages: 83-110

 

Abstract

Objective: To explore the characteristics of girls displaying frequent aggressive behaviors on an adolescent forensic psychiatric ward. Materials and methods: On an adolescent forensic ward, demographics, family, treatment, crime and victimization histories, diagnoses, and symptoms of all adolescents are collected in a cumulative database. Regarding these, girls displaying excessive aggressive behaviors were compared with other girls, all the boys, and boys displaying frequent aggressive behaviors. Their case histories were further qualitatively explored to find characteristics associated with female violence in the literature. Results: The studied girls were the most severely ill among adolescents admitted, and had suffered most the unfortunate backgrounds with parental mental disorders, poor parental management, early caregiver disruption, community disorganization, lack of social support, and being victims of sexual abuse. They displayed a wide range of psychiatric symptoms on different symptom dimensions. Conclusion: Treatment cannot focus solely on aggression management. Extensive psychiatric needs have to be met.

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