Community Violence Perpetration and Victimization among Adults with Mental Illnesses
Sarah L. Desmarais, PhD, Richard A. Van Dorn, PhD, Kiersten L. Johnson, BS, Kevin J. Grimm, PhD, Kevin S. Douglas, PhD, and Marvin S. Swartz, MD
American Journal of Public Health
September 11, 2013
Objectives. In a large heterogeneous sample of adults with mental illnesses, we examined the 6-month prevalence and nature of community violence perpetration and victimization, as well as associations between these outcomes.
Methods. Baseline data were pooled from 5 studies of adults with mental illnesses from across the United States (n = 4480); the studies took place from 1992 to 2007. The MacArthur Community Violence Screening Instrument was administered to all participants.
Results. Prevalence of perpetration ranged from 11.0% to 43.4% across studies, with approximately one quarter (23.9%) of participants reporting violence. Prevalence of victimization was higher overall (30.9%), ranging from 17.0% to 56.6% across studies. Most violence (63.5%) was perpetrated in residential settings. The prevalence of violence-related physical injury was approximately 1 in 10 overall and 1 in 3 for those involved in violent incidents. There were strong associations between perpetration and victimization.
Conclusions. Results provided further evidence that adults with mental illnesses experienced violent outcomes at high rates, and that they were more likely to be victims than perpetrators of community violence. There is a critical need for public health interventions designed to reduce violence in this vulnerable population.