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January 1994

Violence in the Severely Mentally III

Author Affiliations

Creighton-Nebraska Department of Psychiatry 2205 S 10th St Omaha, NE 68108

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994;51(1):71. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1994.03950010071009

The article by Hodgins1 in the June 1992 issue of the Archives is important because it appears to contradict the notion that patients with major memtal illness are no more likely than the general population to commit violent and nonviolent crime. Hodgins reported that men and women with severe mental illness were 2.5 and 5.0 times more likely than the general population to be convicted of crime, respectively, and concluded that "the findings raise fundamental questions about these disorders, their etiology, and their treatment." The problem with this conclusion is that 49% of men and 43% of women with major mental disorders also had a diagnosis of substance abuse or dependence. Given that men and women with substance-abuse problems alone were 20 and 32 times more likely to be convicted, respectively, it could be concluded that the tendency to commit crime may be a function of substance abuse or

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