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NCJ Number: 165567 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Social Networks, Social Support, and Violence Among Persons With Severe, Persistent Mental Illness (From Violence and Mental Disorder: Developments in Risk Assessment, P 259-295, 1994, John Monahan and Henry J Steadman, eds. -- See NCJ-165556)
Author(s): S E Estroff; C Zimmer
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 37
Sponsoring Agency: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Chicago, IL 60603
National Institute of Mental Health
Bethesda, MD 20852
University of Chicago Press
Chicago, IL 60637
Grant Number: MH40314
Sale Source: University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on a large study of patients with severe, persistent mental disorder, this chapter concludes that the composition of a person's social network and the types of emotional and instrumental support available to the person affect both the likelihood of violence and the typical victims of violence.
Abstract: The investigation was designed to explore correlations and causal links between the social networks and social support of the cohort and violence they committed toward others during an 18-month period. Study subjects were 169 persons with severe, persistent mental illnesses, who were recruited from four hospitals. Six interviews were conducted with the subjects over a 32-month period. Significant others or family members were interviewed once separately. The analysis reported in this chapter covers the first 18 months of the study period. Medical records were reviewed, as were arrest records from courts in the five counties of residence of study participants. A violent act was defined as an arrest or criminal charge and adjudication for assault and battery, manslaughter, or murder; a danger-to-others commitment that specified that the respondent hit, hit with an object or weapon, sexually assaulted, or threatened with an object or weapon another person; or a confirmed report of a violent act by the respondent. The findings show that approximately one-third of the cohort of people with major mental illnesses engaged in behaviors that were actually or potentially dangerous to others during an 18-month period. Nearly twice as many threats were made than acts committed, and very few individuals were arrested for or charged with violent crimes. Social and demographic characteristics were not significant predictors of violent acts and only slightly salient in predicting violent threats. Clinical variables proved to be the only significant predictors of who would engage in violent acts, and violent threats were influenced in various ways by the social, clinical, previous violence, and social network and support characteristics of the cohort. Individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia were substantially more likely than others to commit acts of violence toward others, but no more likely to threaten others than people with other diagnoses. Further, the findings support the guiding presumptions, that is, that the structure and nature of an individual's relations with others, in combination with their subjective experiences, clinical condition, and personal histories, provide some indication of who will be violent toward whom. 5 tables, 1 figure, and 55 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Mental disorders; Mental illness-crime relationships; Mentally ill offenders; Violence causes; Violence prevention
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