Criminality and aggression among psychotic in-patients: frequency and clinical correlates
Abstract:Objective: Violence is common among patients with psychoses. The aim of the study was to examine relations between diagnoses, crimes, demographic variables and aggressive behaviour during admission to hospital.
Method: During 14 months 257 patients were consecutively referred to a unit with high staff/patient ratio. They were assessed for clinical symptoms at admittance and discharge. Also legal status, coercive measures, criminality and sentences were examined.
Results: Of the 257 patients, 38% were found in the police register and 33% had been prosecuted. Those patients committed 2525 crimes, including 292 acts of violence. Problems during admittance were related more to positive symptoms at admittance than to earlier criminality.
Conclusion: Criminality rate is high among patients with functional psychoses. Many patients, especially women, had never been evaluated by a forensic psychiatrist. The psychiatric services have to consider the importance of preventing psychotic relapses and thereby also preventing violence and criminality.