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The role of psychopathic traits and substance abuse in predicting violent victimization in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders

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Address correspondence to: Prof. Mairead Dolan, Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, 505 Hoddle Street, Clifton Hill, VA, Australia. Email: Mairead.Dolan@forensicare.vic.gov.au

ABSTRACT

We examined the relationship between psychopathic traits and substance abuse and violent victimization in 94 community patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia spectrum disorders in contact with public mental health services in Victoria, Australia. Data on violence and victimization were collated from multiple sources and combined to categorize patients into victims of serious violence (VV; n = 74) and those who were not victims of serious violence (NVV; n = 20) groups.

The VV group had higher rates of unemployment and previous violence but did not differ from the NVV on current symptom ratings. The VV group has significantly higher substance abuse and psychopathy scores, but only psychopathy score significantly contributed to the prediction of victimization. All psychopathy facets were reasonably good predictors of victimization status, but the antisocial facet contributed most to the prediction of victimization. A better understanding of the role and contribution of antisocial (particularly psychopathic) traits in violent victimization in mentally ill populations is needed to better inform community management plans.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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