Social ties and short-term self-reported delinquent behaviour of personality disordered forensic outpatients


Correspondence should be addressed to Yvonne H. A. Bouman, Scientific Researcher, Department of Research, Pompestichting, PO Box 31435, 6503 CK Nijmegen, The Netherlands (e-mail:


Purpose. In community-based forensic psychiatry, patients' social ties are considered as protective factor in a risk management strategy. However, it is unknown whether these ties actually assist patients to refrain from re-offending. We hypothesised a protective role for social ties in re-offending behaviour.

Methods. In a sample of forensic outpatients with a personality disorder (N = 55), the relationship between social ties (social contacts and participation in social institutions) and short-term self-reported re-offences was studied within a prospective study design with a 6-month follow-up period.

Results. Our results provide evidence for a protective function of club participation. For violent re-offences, social institutions were protective and this protective function remained, even when a patient had network members with a criminal background. Except for work-related contacts, social contacts did not provide protection.

Conclusions. The protective effect of social ties, especially club participation, on desistance from re-offending in forensic psychiatric patients merits further attention from researchers and clinicians.