Psychosis Does Not Foreshadow Violence

FROM Psychiatric News Alert: Contrary to the common belief that mental illness is associated with violence, hallucinations and delusions associated with psychiatric disorders seldom foreshadow acts of aggression, according to findings published in Clinical Psychological Science.

The study examined data from the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study (a project that tracked the prevalence of community violence in a sample of more than 1,100 men and women during the year following their discharge from acute psychiatric facilities) to identify former inpatients with two or more violent incidents, and included interviews with the former inpatients, family members and friends to assess the factors that preceded violent acts. The authors concluded that psychosis immediately preceded 12% of violent incidents following the release from psychiatric facilities. Said study author Jennifer Skeem, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, in a press release:

“High-profile mass shootings capture public attention and increase vigilance of people with mental illness. These findings suggest that psychosis sometimes foreshadows violence for a fraction of high-risk individuals, but violence prevention efforts should also target factors like anger and social deviance.”

For more on violence and mental illness, see the Psychiatric Newsarticle “Capitol Hill Gets Straight Story on Gun Violence, Mental Illness.” Also, see a related article in Psychiatric Services, Applicability of the Risk-Need-Responsivity Model to Persons With Mental Illness Involved in the Criminal Justice System.”

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