Assessing risk of violent behavior among veterans with severe mental illness

Authors

  • Eric B. Elbogen,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
    • Duke University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Box 3071, Durham, NC 27710
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jean C. Beckham,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center; Durham VA Medical Center; and VA Mid-Atlantic Region Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), Durham, NC
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Marian I. Butterfield,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center; Durham VA Medical Center; VA Mid-Atlantic Region Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC); and Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Marvin Swartz,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jeffrey Swanson

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
    Search for more papers by this author

  • “During preparation of this manuscript, Dr. Mimi Butterfield died on June 26th, 2006 after a courageous five-year battle with breast cancer. The authors would like to acknowledge her work on the research described in this report and celebrate her many significant contributions to the field of Psychiatry and to the care of our Nation's veterans.”

Abstract

Although empirical research has examined factors associated with increased violence risk among individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) and among veterans without SMI, less attention has been devoted to identifying violence risk factors among veterans with SMI. Using multivariable analysis of a large pooled sample of individuals with SMI, this study examines violence risk factors of N = 278 veterans with SMI. In multivariate modeling, violence by veterans with SMI was associated with head injury, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and homelessness. Results support the view clinicians assessing violence risk among veterans with SMI should consider a combination of characteristics empirically related to violence by non-veterans with SMI (e.g., homelessness) and veterans without SMI (e.g., PTSD).

Ancillary