Mental Illness & Violence


In this in service Dr. Stephen Price and I discuss the relationship between mental illness and violence and delve into our experiences with this population. According to the Department of Justice violent crime has been decreasing since the early 1990s. Although there is a statistical relationship between mental illness and violence, only 4% of all violent crimes are committed by persons with mental illness. Conversely, persons with mental illness are at high risk for violent victimization. Despite this violent crimes involving persons with mental illness are over-reported. Research indicates that mental illness only needs to be mentioned in news stories for people to infer that there is a causal relationship between the two. References for this in service are listed below.


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The music for our podcast was composed and performed by Adam Price. The artwork “Blocked Thoughts” was hand painted by Jenn Koonz, Ph.D. Both are used with permission. Forensic InService podcast by Stephen Koonz & Stephen Price is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.



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Chan, G, & Yanos, PT. (2018). Media depictions and the priming of mental illness stigma. Stigma and Health, 3(3), 253-264.

Choe, JY, Teplin, LA, & Abram, KM. (2008). Perpetration of violence, violent victimization, and severe mental illness: Balancing public health outcomes. Psychiatr Serv, 59, 153-164.

da Cunha-Bang, S, Hjordt LV, et al. (2017). Serotonin 1B receptor binding is associated with trait anger and level of psychopathy in violent offenders. Biological Psychiatry, 82(4), 267-274.

George, DT, Umhau, JC, et al. (2001). Serotonin, testosterone and alcohol in the etiology of domestic violence. Psychiatry Research, 104(1), 27-37.

Hein, S, Barbot, B, et al. (2017). Violent offending among juveniles: A 7-year longitudinal study of recidivism, desistance, and associations with mental health. Law and Human Behavior, 41(3), 273-283.

Hodgins, S. (2008). Violent behavior amongst people with schizophrenia: A framework for investigation of causes and effective treatment, and prevention. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 363, 2505-2518.

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Kuehn, BM. (2012). Evidence suggests complex links between violence and schizophrenia. Journal of the American Medical Association, 308(7), 658-659.

Latalova, K, Kamaradova, D, & Prasko J. (2014). Violent victimization of adult patients with severe mental illness: A systematic review. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat, 10, 1925-1939.

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Varney, KH. (2014). By the numbers: Mental illness behind bars. PBS News Hour. Retrieved 21 September 2018, from

Varshney, M, Mahapatra, A, Krishnan, V, Gupta, R, & Debs, KS. (2015). Violence and mental illness: What is the true story? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 70(3), 223-225.

Weierstall, R, Moran, J, Giebel, G, & Elbert, T. (2014). Testosterone reactivity and identification with perpetrator or a victim in a story are associated with attraction to violence-related cues. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 37(3), 304-312.

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