1. Rosenberg, Karen


According to this study:


* Mental illness is associated with a higher risk of being a victim of crime, in particular violent crime.


* Substance use and personality disorders have the greatest associations with being subjected to crime.



Article Content

People with mental illness are known to be more likely to have contact with the criminal justice system, but most studies have focused on perpetration of crime rather than being a victim of crime. Using data from a national cohort study of more than 2 million people born between 1965 and 1998, Danish researchers examined the likelihood of being subjected to crime, including violent crime, after the onset of mental illness.


Onset of mental illness was defined as the first day of psychiatric contact (inpatient, outpatient, or psychiatric ED). All cohort members were followed from 2001 or from their 15th birthday until their first crime event, death, emigration, or the end of follow-up. Among subjects with and without mental illness, incident rate ratios (IRRs) were calculated using the first incidence of being subjected to any crime, as well as the first incidence of being subjected to violent crime.


Rates of being subjected to any crime were higher in subjects with mental illness than in those without (IRR, 1.68 in men; 1.71 in women), even after adjustment for sociodemographic variables. Positive associations between a diagnosis of mental disorder and being subjected to crime were found across the full spectrum of psychiatric diagnoses in both men and women, with the exception of developmental or intellectual disabilities. In both sexes, the asso-ciations were strongest with substance abuse disorders (IRR, 2.61 in men; 3.18 in women) and personality disorders (IRR, 2.23 in men; 2 in women). The patterns were similar when being subjected to violent crime was considered, but the magnitude was greater, especially among women (IRR, 2.10 in men; 2.99 in women).


Overall, the strongest associations were found in women with substance abuse disorders, among whom the incidence rate at which they were subjected to violent crime was seven times that among women without mental illness. Cohort members' own history of committing crime explained some but not all of the elevated risk of being subjected to crime.




Dean K, et al JAMA Psychiatry 2018 75 7 689-96