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Victim relations and factors triggering homicides committed by offenders with schizophrenia
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
2006 (English)In: Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, ISSN 1478-9949, E-ISSN 1478-9957, Vol. 17, no 2, p. 192-203Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Western countries about 10 - 15% of those convicted of homicide suffer from a psychotic disorder. Victims are most often from the offender's immediate network, such as family members and friends. Delusions and/or hallucinations have an important role in violent behaviour, as does coexistent alcohol or drug abuse. In this study, all 48 homicides from 1992 - 2000 committed by offenders in Sweden diagnosed with schizophrenia were studied in order to identify possibly triggering factors related to victim relations. Nine of the 52 victims were strangers to the offender. In 54% of cases, the homicides were associated with obvious delusions and/or hallucinations. Among offenders with family victims 72% suffered from obvious delusions and/or hallucinations, as compared to 43% of offenders with non-family victims. Of the offenders, 79% were known to psychiatric services, but at the time of the crime only 33% had any ongoing contact. Despite 48% having been prescribed antipsychotic drugs, no more than two individuals were actually taking their medication. The offenders who had killed members of their biological families were seldom intoxicated and few had earlier convictions for violent crime. The mental health care services have a major responsibility to prevent homicides and violent crimes being committed by those with schizophrenia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 17, no 2, p. 192-203
Keyword [en]
Schizophrenia, homicide, victim relations, psychotic symptoms, intoxication, psychiatric treatment
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4040DOI: 10.1080/14789940600631522OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-4040DiVA, id: diva2:142990
Available from: 2004-08-25 Created: 2004-08-25 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Violent offenders with schizophrenia: quantitative and qualitative studies focusing on the family of origin
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Violent offenders with schizophrenia: quantitative and qualitative studies focusing on the family of origin
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The focus of the thesis is on violent offenders with schizophrenia and their relatives. The aims were to explore incidence of violent crimes, the extent to which family members were victims, to investigate individual background factors among violent offenders, and to identify psychotic symptoms and triggering factors associated with fatal violence. In addition, parents were interviewed to build an understanding of their experiences and emotional reactions.

One study examined all 369 male individuals who had committed a violent crime (assault, homicide or attempt to any of these crimes), who in a pre-trial forensic psychiatric evaluation (FPE) during 1992-2000 were diagnosed with schizophrenia, and who were referred to forensic psychiatric treatment. Although the majority of the 615 victims was unacquainted to the offenders, family members or male acquainted were most at risk of being severely injured or killed as victims.

Background factors were studied for the 207 Swedish offenders who for their first time were subjects of a FPE during the study period. There were indications that those offenders who targeted family members had an earlier onset and more severe course of their mental illness.

During the study period, 48 offenders committed homicides. Of the 52 victims, 83% were family members or acquainted to the offender. Those who killed a family member had more often delusions and/or hallucinations, were less often intoxicated, had to a lesser extent committed a previous violent crime and they were younger at the time of the homicide.

Parents, who were interviewed, were very emotionally involved in their adult sons, although they were not living together. Ignorance regarding the diagnosis of their son and his criminality negatively influenced the contacts, both between parent and son and between parent and professionals in psychiatry. However, the referral to forensic psychiatric treatment gave the parents hope for a positive development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Klinisk vetenskap, 2004. p. 58
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 904
Keyword
Psychiatry, schizophrenia, offenders, homicide, criminality, victim relations, family members, forensic psychiatry, Psykiatri
National Category
Psychiatry
Research subject
Psychiatry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-298 (URN)91-7305-692-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-09-17, Sal B, Tandläkarhögskolan, NUS, Umeå, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2004-08-25 Created: 2004-08-25 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Nordström, AnnikaKullgren, Gunnar

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