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Serious Mental Illness Linked with Violent Behavior

J Interpers Violence; ePub 2018 Mar 13; Roche, et al

Patients with serious mental illness (SMI) conditions had higher rates of violent ideation and behavior (VIS) than both patients with non-SMI psychopathology and those with substance use disorders (SUDs) only, according to a recent study. Researchers analyzed the intake records of 63,572 patients diagnosed with SMIs (ie, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and unipolar depression), SUDs, and non-SMI psychiatric disorders. Raw prevalence rates for a combined metric of VIS were established and compared for each group, and a series of logistic regression analyses were performed to estimate how various demographic factors influenced the likelihood of VIS endorsement in each study group. They found:

  • Patients with SMI and comorbid substance use pathology were responsible for the majority of VIS with in each SMI condition.
  • Men with SMI conditions had higher prevalence rates of VIS than females.
  • In addition, for every SMI diagnosis, comorbid SUDs and younger age were related to greater risk for VIB, and where race and gender were found to significantly alter the likelihood of VIS endorsement, African American status, and female gender were independently related to greater risk.


Roche MW, Boyle OJ, Cheng C-C, et al. Prevalence and risk of violent ideation and behavior in serious mental illnesses: An analysis of 63,572 patient records. [Published online ahead of print March 13, 2018]. J Interpers Violence. doi:10.1177/0886260518759976.

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