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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 156925 Find in a Library
Title: Mental Illness and Violent Crime
Author(s): J. Monahan
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 0
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Recent research is presented regarding the relationship between mental disorders and violence and the possibility of distinguishing between persons with mental illness who will become violent and those who will not.
Abstract: Throughout history the public attitude has been that a strong link exists between mental illness and violence. Such perceptions have driven both public policy and the stigma attached to persons with mental disorders. Advocates for the mentally ill have tended to make blanket denials of a connection. However, in recent years a consensus has developed that a statistical association exists, although it is modest and is vastly overstated by both news and entertainment media. Most people with mental illness are not violent; only 3 percent of the variance in violence is attributable to mental illness. Victims are overwhelmingly family members. In addition, demographics are more important to violence than are mental illnesses. Moreover, drug abuse is associated with violence at double or triple the rate of that for mental illness. The crucial relationship between mental disorders and violence is among those with specific kinds of psychotic symptoms. Clinicians have a slightly better than average ability to predict violence; the symptoms are more important than the diagnosis in making predictions. Drug abuse is also much more important than the diagnosis in making predictions; demographic factors are not important in predictions. Finally, rapid developments are occurring in research on this topic. The speaker is Professor of Psychology and legal Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Law. Questions from the audience, answers from the speaker, and introduction by National Institute of Justice Director Jeremy Travis
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Drug effects; Dual diagnosis; Mental disorders; Mental illness-crime relationships; Violence causes; Violence prediction
Note: 60 minutes, VHS, color; NIJ Research in Progress. Video also available in open captioned.
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