Anger and depression among incarcerated male youth: Predictors of violent and nonviolent offending during adjustment to incarceration.

Objective: Anger and depression are associated with a number of psychosocial problems, and their comorbidity may exacerbate maladjustment among incarcerated youth. The present study aims to identify whether anger and its different facets (cognitive, arousal, and behavioral), either independently or when conjoined with depressed mood, affects violent and nonviolent institutional infractions. Method: Male adolescents (14–17 years of age) were recruited within 48 hr of arrival at a juvenile detention facility and were administered psychometric measures of anger (Novaco Anger Scale) and depression (Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression scale) at baseline, 1 month, and 2 months. Offending within the facility was assessed via self-report and institutional records. Results: Controlling for prior offending and other background factors, individuals having high anger scores were more likely to offend over the 2-month period, compared to those with lower levels of anger. Novaco Anger Scale scores, especially the Behavioral facet, predicted both official- and self-reported (violent and nonviolent) institutional offending. There was evidence for the interaction of depression and anger at baseline predicting self-reported offending at 1 month only. Conclusions: Given that juveniles’ self-report of emotional distress, particularly anger, is predictive of their violent and nonviolent infractions, focused intervention programs could reduce behavior problems during incarceration that add to juveniles’ maladjustment and continued exposure to adversities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)