Research - Violence

How often and how consistently do symptoms directly precede criminal behavior among offenders with mental illness?

Peterson, JK., Kennealy, P., Skeem, J., Bray, B., Zvonkovic, A. (2014). Law and Human Behavior; 38:5, 439-449.

The researchers conducted intensive interviews with 143 criminal offenders with mental illness to examine the causes that led to their criminal behavior. They found that the mental illness rarely motivated the criminal acts. They suggest that programming to reduce recidivism should focus on risk factors like anti-social behavior, rather than just the psychiatric symptoms. Read article here.

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Violence and mental illness: an overview

Stuart, Heather (2003). World Psychiatry; 2(2): 121–124.

The researcher asked three questions about people who have a mental illness and violence: Are the mentally ill violent? Are they more likely to be victims of violence? Is the public at risk? The research findings demonstrate that having a mental illness is not a determinant of violence, but that the public exaggerate both propensity for violence and their risk. The research also shows that people who have a mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence.

The author also identifies risk factors related to substance abuse and violence, and advocates for early identification and treatment of substance abuse. Read article here.

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Stigma and violence: isn’t it time to connect the dots?

Torrey, E. F. (2011). Schizophrenia bulletin, 37(5), 892-896.
Stigma against mentally ill persons is a major problem and has increased in incidence. Multiple studies have suggested that the perception of violent behavior by seriously mentally ill individuals is an important cause of stigma. It is also known that treating seriously mentally ill people decreases violent behavior. Therefore, authors propose that the most effective way to decrease stigma is to make sure that patients receive adequate treatment. Read article here.

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