Center for Forensic Behavioural Science, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.
Special Issue Paper
A clinical study of those who utter threats to kill†
Article first published online: 4 MAR 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Special Issue: International Perspectives on Stalking
Volume 29, Issue 2, pages 141–154, March/April 2011
How to Cite
Warren, L. J., Mullen, P. E. and Ogloff, J. R.P. (2011), A clinical study of those who utter threats to kill. Behav. Sci. Law, 29: 141–154. doi: 10.1002/bsl.974
The current research forms part of the first author's Doctor of Philosophy studies.
- Issue published online: 24 MAR 2011
- Article first published online: 4 MAR 2011
The current study sought to examine the psychiatric characteristics and rate of subsequent violence among those who uttered explicit threats to kill.
Data were drawn from 144 referrals of adults to a community-based forensic mental health consultation and treatment service. Each had explicitly threatened to kill a person other than themselves.
Assaults were made by over 20%, including one homicide, within 12 months of assessment. Two participants committed suicide in the follow-up period. Factors found to contribute to violence risk were substance abuse, prior violence, limited education and untreated mental disorders. Threateners were often habitual in their threatening behaviour and typically targeted those they interacted with on a daily basis. Clinical characteristics showed a psychiatrically complex group who shared many features of other offender groups.
The type of threat that led to referral for a mental health assessment was not uncommonly followed by violence. Factors enhancing risk resemble findings from other groups of offenders. Those referred for clinical evaluation typically have complex clinical presentations and marked deficits in effectively managing interpersonal conflict. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.