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Subst Abus. 2001 Sep;22(3):167-173.

Violence Among Comorbid and Noncomorbid Severely Mentally Ill Adults: A Pilot Study.

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UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center, Los Angeles, California;


This pilot study examined the relationship between substance dependence and violence in a sample of severely mentally ill adults. Subjects were 42 psychiatric outpatients enrolled in a clinical case management program in San Francisco, California. Almost 40% of the participants reported perpetrating at least one violent act in the past 12 months. Comorbid participants were over 4(1/2) times more likely to commit a violent act in the past 12 months than noncomorbid participants. Substance dependence was also more frequently associated with perpetration of a violent act by female than by male participants and by Caucasian than by African American participants. Comorbid mentally ill participants appear more likely to perpetrate violent acts than those with mental illness alone. The dangers of substance dependence in terms of the perpetration of violence may not be in mental illness or substance dependence alone but in their co-occurrence. Further investigation is needed to assess risk factors for violence and victimization in multiple environmental and situational domains. It will be important to explore the moderating effects of gender and race on the co-occurrence of mental illness, substance dependence, and the perpetration of violent acts.


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