Mental Disorders and Violent Crime

Open Access
Author:
Pace, Christina M
Area of Honors:
Crime, Law, and Justice
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jeffery Todd Ulmer, Thesis Supervisor
  • Stacy Silver, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • mental illness
  • violent crime
Abstract:
This study addresses the question of whether mental disorders and violent crime are correlated. It is hypothesized that when someone has a mental disease they are more likely to commit a violent crime. Many articles have been written about the relationship between these two variables but the approach used in this article has never been used before. To research the relationship between mental disorders and violent crime the Survey of Inmates was examined. This survey is an in-depth interview with each detainee and asks questions regarding the type of crime that has been committed, the inmate’s current mental health situation, and many other important questions about the person’s background. A logistic regression model was used to find if there was a correlation between mental disorders and violent crime. Many factors were controlled for including drug and alcohol abuse during the offense, gender, age, and race. The results showed that people diagnosed with depression, PTSD, and schizophrenia were more likely to show involvement in violent crime compared to those with no mental illness. However, bipolar disorder was negatively correlated to violent crime.