Critical Issues - Violence

From: Psychiatric Services, Vol. 46, August 1995

State Psychiatric Hospital Patients With Past Arrests for Violent Crimes

Linda S. Grossman, Ph.D.
Thomas W. Haywood, M.A.
James L. Cavanaugh, M.D.
John M. Davis, M.D.
Dan A. Lewis, Ph.D.


Objective: This study examined associations between four types of major psychopathology¾ schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar and unipolar affective disorders¾ and history of violent crime. The effects of demographic variables, substance abuse, psychosis, and paranoia on history of violent crime were also determined.

Methods: Diagnostic assessments using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia and Research Diagnostic Criteria identified 172 state hospital inpatients with the four diagnoses of interest, as well as those with co-existing substance use disorders. Based on arrest records, patients were categorized according to the most violent crime for which they had been arrested.

Results: Patients with schizoaffective disorder were significantly more likely than those in the other diagnostic groups to have been arrested for a violent crime. Similar results were found for psychotic patients compared with nonpsychotic patients, patients who had paranoid schizophrenia compared with patients who had schizophrenia without paranoid features, and patients who had co-existing substance abuse compared with those with no history of substance abuse. Patients from racial minority groups and male patients were also more likely than white patients and female patients to have been arrested for a violent crime.

Conclusions: Demographic features, a diagnosis of shizoaffective disorder, psychosis, paranoid symptoms, and substance abuse may all be associated with violent behavior.

Violence violence

Background and Mission


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