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The Effect of Race on Psychiatric Diagnosis In Mental Health Courts

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Description: Existing research indicates that African Americans are diagnosed with the most debilitating psychotic disorders at a higher rate than Caucasians. This disparity has not been fully examined in the context of mental health courts (MHC), which are a modern innovation implemented in response to mentally ill offenders saturating prisons. Furthermore, existing studies have not fully examined whether the effect of race on diagnosis varies by gender and crime type, as would be predicted by various theoretical perspectives in criminology. The effects of race, gender, and crime type on diagnosis were analyzed using a unique data set of 285 MHC referrals. Results from logistic regression analyses corroborate existing research, indicating that African Americans referred to MHCs are more likely to be diagnosed with psychotic disorders than Caucasians. Tests for interactions with gender and crime type did not reveal statistically significant differences in the effect of race on diagnosis across offender characteristics.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work