Mental health services use and symptom prevalence in a cohort of adults on probation

Psychiatr Serv. 2009 Apr;60(4):542-4. doi: 10.1176/ps.2009.60.4.542.


Objective: This study examined the prevalence of mental disorder symptoms among adult probationers and the probability of mental health service use.

Methods: Data from the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse were used to obtain information on adults reporting mental disorder symptoms who had been on probation within the past year and those who had not.

Results: Twenty-seven percent of probationers (N=311 of 1,168) and 17% of nonprobationers (N=5,830 of 34,230) had mental disorder symptoms. Mental health service use was reported by 23% of both groups. Compared with persons who had not been on probation, probationers were more likely to report psychosis, mania, and posttraumatic stress disorder; both groups were as likely to report depression.

Conclusions: The prevalence of mental disorder symptoms did not differ by probation status. However, the type and distribution of symptoms were significantly different in the two groups. These are important considerations when planning for service connection with mental health providers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Crime
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult