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Schizophrenia and violent crime: The experience of parents
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health Sciences.
2006 (English)In: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, ISSN 0160-2527, E-ISSN 1873-6386, Vol. 29, no 1, 57-67 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Individuals with schizophrenia have an increased risk of committing a violent crime, although their contribution to the overall criminality in society is small. In this qualitative study we have interviewed parents of adult sons, diagnosed with schizophrenia and who recently had been referred to forensic psychiatric treatment due to a violent crime, with an aim to explore the parents' experiences and emotional reactions. Four events, or status passages, emerged as crucial and common for all parents. These were the onset of the mental disorder, the diagnosis of schizophrenia, the violent behaviour/criminality and the recent referral to forensic psychiatric treatment. Every passage evoked strong emotional reactions such as guilt, fear, disappointment, anger and relief, which in return led to different actions taken. Unawareness of the character and severity of their sons' mental illness and the type of violent criminality they had committed were common and complicated contacts both between the parents and their sons, and also between family members and official authorities. The findings emphasize that psychiatric healthcare professionals must take the initiative and responsibility for information, education and support of family members.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 29, no 1, 57-67 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-13688DOI: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2004.07.002PubMedID: 16278016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-13688DiVA: diva2:153359
Available from: 2008-12-03 Created: 2008-12-03 Last updated: 2010-08-10Bibliographically 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. 58 p.
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: 2010-08-10Bibliographically approved

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Nordström, AnnikaKullgren, GunnarDahlgren, Lars

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