The association of perinatal events, childhood epilepsy, and central nervous system trauma with juvenile delinquency was studied prospectively in a geographically defined population of 5966 males in northern Finland. Those who had obtained a criminal record up to the age of 22 years, totalling 355, or 6.0%, were defined as delinquents. The incidence of delinquency was not increased in males with a birth weight less than 2500 g or greater than 4000 g, preterm births < 37 weeks' gestation, or those with perinatal brain damage or having epileptic seizures before 14 years of age. The incidence was increased by 6.8% in the group of males with birth weights less than 3500 g, but not significantly increased after standardisation for a number of social and demographic background variables. The incidence was increased by 10.3% among the males who had had a central nervous system trauma by the age of 14 years, however, and this factor remained significant when social and demographic factors were standardised by regression analysis, with an odds ratio of 1.9 for all males with a criminal record and an odds ratio of 3.15 for those who had committed a violent crime. Previous central nervous system trauma may be a cause of delinquency, or another possibility is that the type of behaviour pursued by males who are likely to commit a violent crime will expose them more often to accidents which can result in central nervous system trauma.
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