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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2005 Aug;73(4):599-609.

What do clinicians expect? Comparing envisioned and reported violence for male and female patients.

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Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 92697, USA.


Mental health professionals' (MHPs') accuracy in assessing the risk of violence in female patients is particularly limited. Based on assessments made by 205 MHPs of 605 patients in an emergency room, this study explored potential causes of MHPs' poorer accuracy in assessing women's potential for violence. The dimensions that underlie MHPs' envisioned violence in patients were identified and were compared with those that characterized patients' reported violence during a 6-month follow-up period. There were three key findings from their study. First, violence envisioned by MHPs differed depending on their professional role and varied in its congruence with patients' reported violence. Second, patients' violence was organized by dimensions of domesticity and substance relatedness; women's violent incidents were more domestic than were men's. Third, when MHPs envisioned violence that was highly conditional on psychiatric deterioration and medication noncompliance, violence often did not occur.

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