Homicide and major mental disorders: a 25-year study
Article first published online: 5 JUL 2004
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 110, Issue 2, pages 98–107, August 2004
How to Cite
Schanda, H., Knecht, G., Schreinzer, D., Stompe, Th., Ortwein-Swoboda, G. and Waldhoer, Th. (2004), Homicide and major mental disorders: a 25-year study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 110: 98–107. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0047.2004.00305.x
- Issue published online: 5 JUL 2004
- Article first published online: 5 JUL 2004
- Accepted for publication January 26, 2004
- major depressive disorder;
- bipolar disorder;
- delusional disorder;
Objective: This study was designed to investigate the association between major mental disorders (MMDs) and homicide.
Method: The rates of exculpations because of MMDs among 1087 Austrian homicide offenders during 1975 and 1999 were compared with the rates of the respective disorders in the general population.
Results: MMDs were associated with an increased likelihood of homicide (two-fold in men and six-fold in women). This was exclusively because of schizophrenia (age-adjusted ORs in men 5.85, CI 4.29–8.01; in women 18.38, CI 11.24–31.55) and delusional disorder in men (OR 5.98, CI 1.91–16.51). Comorbid alcohol abuse/dependence (additionally) increased the odds in schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder.
Conclusion: The increased likelihood of homicide in subjects with MMDs cannot be fully explained by comorbid alcoholism. The results point to the special importance of sufficient treatment for a subgroup of mentally ill individuals being at higher risk of violence.