Juvenile Homicide

Carl C. Bell, MD
JAMA. 1990;263(1):124-125. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440010122048.
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This book, which is actually a monograph, addresses the very narrow but important topic of juvenile homicide. The fact that juveniles arrested for homicide account for a small percentage of homicides (under 10%), and only a small proportion of these offenders are referred for a mental health evaluation, implies that the number of mental health clinicians and psychiatrists who would find this book useful in their practice will be limited. Despite this reality, by tackling the subject of adolescent homicide, which is the end point of adolescent aggression, the authors of the various chapters of the book give insight into lethal and nonlethal aggression of juveniles.

Chapter 1 gives an excellent comprehensive review of the literature on the causes of juvenile homicide. Issues of major psychopathology, episodic dyscontrol or brief psychosis, brain dysfunction, psychodynamic factors, and preadolescent homicidal behaviors are covered. The author aptly notes that most studies on the


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