Study: People With Mental Illness More Likely To Be Crime
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 3, 2005
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--People who experience severe mental illness are 11 times more likely than the general population to be victims of violent crimes, a study published in this month's Archives of General Psychiatry revealed.
Researchers with the Feinberg School of Medicine at Chicago's Northwestern University used the National Crime Victimization Survey to interview 936 people who received outpatient, day and residential services from 16 mental health agencies in the local area.
After controlling for income and demographic differences from the general U.S. population, the study's authors found that more than one-fourth of the respondents had been victims of violent crimes in the previous year. Depending on the type of violent crime -- including rape, sexual assault, robbery, and physical assault -- the rates were 6 to 23 times greater for persons with severe mental illness than the rest of the population.
The researchers recommended that mental health agencies, advocacy groups and criminal justice systems develop collaborative relationships to deal with the problems.
"People don't think of crime victimization as a health disparity," said the study's lead author, Linda A. Teplin.
"But crime victimization disproportionately affects persons with severe mental disorder, especially racial and ethnic minorities. Moreover, many persons with severe mental illness are poor and homeless, adding to their risk."
Press statement "Mentally Ill More Likely to Be Victims of Violence" (Northwestern University)
Abstract "Crime Victimization in Adults With Severe Mental Illness" (Archives of General Psychiatry)