schizophrenia not more violent, claims study
June 1, 2009
by Angela Hussain
diagnosed with schizophrenia have only a “minimal” and
insignificant risk of being more violent, researchers claim.
The study – noteable for having
by far the largest sample for a study of its kind –
research claiming a person with schizophrenia can be between
four and ten times more likely to commit violence.
journal study found substance abuse co-morbidity was a significant
key predictor of violence, and not schizophrenia.
The study's researchers said their
work challenges "misperceptions" of schizophrenia.
The research reported that while
28 per cent of people with both schizophrenia and substance abuse
were convicted of violent crime, only eight per cent of those with
schizophrenia and no substance abuse were convicted. This compares
with a five per cent rate of convicted violence of the general population.
The study, published this
violent crime in 8,003 people diagnosed with schizophrenia between
1973 and 2006 with a control of 80,000 people from Sweden.
The study concluded that “the
association between schizophrenia and violent crime is minimal unless
the patients is also diagnosed as having substance abuse comorbidity.”
One of the study researchers, Dr Niklas Långström, associate
professor at the Centre for Violence Prevention at the Karolinska
Institute in Stockholm, Sweden said the idea that people with schizophrenia
are more violent is "not true."
"The public perception of the
dangerousness of psychiatric patients is pervasive and is a key
factor in their stigmatization, partly influenced by selective media
coverage of high-profile cases," the researchers wrote.
sample number was more than the combined samples of all previous
Earlier this month The
Zito Trust, which
for 17 years called for more controls over violent psychiatric patients
closed, declaring its objectives had been met, particularly through
a new mental health act which came into effect last year.
Seena Fazel; Niklas Långström; Anders Hjern; et al. Schizophrenia,
Substance Abuse, and Violent Crime
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