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Mental Illness and Violent Crime

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1996
4 pages
Publication Series
This risk assessment study examined 1,000 mental patients released from acute care facilities in Massachusetts, Missouri, and Pennsylvania and an additional 500 Pittsburgh residents to assess the link between mental illness and violent crime.
Researchers postulated that, in a public health framework, risk factors for violence could be classified according to four categories: (1) personal-dispositional factors--age, gender, ethnicity, anger control, and impulsiveness; (2) developmental-historical factors--history of child abuse, work history, history of violence, and hospitalization history for mental disorders; (3) contextual factors--environmental stress, social support, and weapons accessibility; and (4) clinical factors--delusions, hallucinations, and substance abuse. Further, researchers built on methods and findings of two pioneer studies made available in the 1990's that refocused the link between mental disorders and violent behavior to specific symptoms and factors. Findings, published separately, are intended to shed light on whether and to what extent risk factors associated with violence among mentally disordered persons are also associated with violence in the general population.

Date Published: October 1, 1996