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  • 1
    ISSN: 1433-9285
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Abstract The need to better understand and manage risk of violent behavior among people with severe mental illness in community care settings is increasingly being recognized, as public-sector mental health systems face mandates to provide more cost-effective services in less restrictive environments. The potential for serious violence in a small proportion of severely mentally ill (SMI) individuals has emerged as a key factor that increases cost and limits continuity and normalization of community-based services for populations with psychiatric disabilities. A major challenge to developing better strategies for risk assessment and management in community care settings involves specifying complex interactions between psychiatric impairment and the conditions of social life – including the quality and frequency of contact with others at close quarters. This is a study of the determinants of violent behavior in a sample of 331 adults with severe mental disorders in community-based treatment. An interaction between severity of functional impairment and frequency of social contact was found to be significantly associated with risk of violence. Among respondents with Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scores in the lowest 20%, more frequent contact with family and friends was linked to a higher probability of violent events. However, among better functioning respondents, frequent social contact was associated with lower risk of violence and greater satisfaction with relationships. These findings suggest that, where violence risk is concerned, the most salient feature of psychiatric impairment is the impairment of social relationships –the ways in which disorders of thought and mood not only distort one's subjective appraisal of experience and threat, but impair the ability to relate meaningfully to others, to resolve conflict and derive necessary support from family and friends. Thus, social contact may be a mixed blessing for SMI individuals. For some, it signals a positive quality of life, but for others – particularly those with extreme psychiatric impairment – frequent contact may add to conflict, stress, and increased potential and opportunity for physical violence. The impact of psychiatric impairment on violent behavior cannot be known in isolation, but must be considered in a social context. Effective community-based strategies to anticipate and prevent violence in the lives of persons with severe mental illness must take into account such interactions between social and clinical variables.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1433-9285
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Abstract Risk Reconsidered: Targets of violence in the Social Networks of People with Serious Mental illness. This exploratory analysis addresses the questions: 1) Who among the members of the social network of a person diagnosed with a major psychiatric disorder is likely to become a target of violence?; 2) What kind of relationships do targets have with respondents in terms of the quality and quantity of interactions?, and 3) What are the risk factors that contribute to being a target of violence for people who are in the social networks of persons with serious mental disorders? The samples of 169 people with serious mental disorders were followed for 30 months. A logistic regression model of the risk for being a target of violence among the members of the cohort's social network reveals that both target and respondent characteristics are salient, and that mothers who live with adult children who have schizophrenia and co-occurring substance abuse bear a substantially elevated risk of becoming a target of violence, compared to other social network members. Other factors that elevate the risk for being a target of violence are being an immediate family members of the respondent, more time in residence with the respondent, and whether the respondent is financially dependent on the family. Respondents with the most mental health center visits had lower odds of committing an act or threat of violence against a social network member.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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