Using the Maysi-2 to Broaden What We Know About Traumatic Experiences and Juvenile Offenders
Methods: MAYSI-2 data was collected from all youth detained in a Midwestern juvenile detention facility between May 2006 and March 2010 for a total of 1,992 occasions. The sample (N=1,348) was 86% male; 79% Black, 17% White, and 4% Other and included ages 10-17. Chi-square and logistic regression analyses were conducted using SAS 9.2. The possible range of TE on the MAYSI-2 is 0 to 5 and includes items such as being in danger or seeing someone severely injured or killed. The AI domain includes nine yes/no items that reflect thoughts, feelings, and behaviors indicative of anger or irritability. On this domain, a score between 0 and 4 is classified as “No Concern”; 5 to 7 is designated “Caution,” indicating clinical significance; and scores above 8 are labeled “Warning“, indicative of a youth scoring higher than the normative 90th percentile. The categories were dichotomized for analyses as “No Concern” and “Caution/Warning”.
Results: By gender, 81% of boys and 84% of girls reported at least one TE; by race, TE were reported by Black (82%), White (79%), and Other (83%) respondents. Neither the relationship between gender and TE or between race and TE was significant; however, the relationship between TE and AI was significant (χ2=133.53, p<.001). Juveniles reporting one or more TE were more likely than those reporting no TE (OR=1.67) to score Caution/Warning; notably, as the number of TEs increased from one to five, the odds of scoring Caution/Warning also increased with ORs ranging from 2.32 to 13.55. Juveniles identified as Other who reported at least one TE were more likely than Black youth (OR=1.70) to score Caution/Warning. Higher percentages of boys than girls reported experiencing multiple TE; however, girls reporting at least one TE were more likely than boys to score Caution/Warning (OR=1.66).
Implications: Overall, the likelihood is high that a juvenile offender has experienced at least one trauma; therefore, services provided to address anger and mental health issues should incorporate trauma-informed standards of care. The high percentage of males that indicated experiencing trauma is rarely noted in the literature, but it is important and should be considered during disposition and the determination of service provision.