Psychosis Rarely Linked to Violent Crime, Study Says

“High-profile mass shootings capture public attention and increase vigilance of people with mental illness. But our findings clearly show that psychosis rarely leads directly to violence,” said study lead author Jennifer Skeem, associate dean of research at University of California, Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare.Numerous studies have found that violence is often associated with anger, access to guns and substance abuse, but this is the first to examine how often psychosis occurs before violent crimes, the study authors said.

Numerous studies have found that violence is often associated with anger, access to guns and substance abuse, but this is the first to examine how often psychosis occurs before violent crimes, the study authors said.

The findings challenge the widespread belief that many acts of violence are due to mental illness, the investigators added.

“None of this detracts from the message that people with mental illness need access to psychiatric services,” Skeem said in a university news release. “But it’s important to remember that risk factors for violence — such as substance abuse, childhood maltreatment, neighborhood disadvantage — are mostly shared by people with and without mental illness, and that’s what we should be focused on if maximizing public safety is our goal.”

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