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Law Hum Behav. 2014 Apr;38(2):119-25. doi: 10.1037/lhb0000043. Epub 2013 Jul 15.

Recent victimization increases risk for violence in justice-involved persons with mental illness.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California-San Francisco.


A large body of research has examined relationships between distal experiences of victimization and the likelihood of engaging in violence later in life. Less is known about the influence of recent violent victimization on risk for violence perpetration. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine prospectively whether recent victimization in adulthood increases the risk of future violence. Specifically, the present study assessed the incremental validity of recent violent victimization in the prediction of future violence in a sample of justice-involved adults with serious mental illness. The study examined (a) whether recent experiences of violent victimization (i.e., within 6 months of the baseline assessment) predicted a greater likelihood of perpetrating violence in the next year, and (b) whether inclusion of recent victimization enhanced the predictive validity of a model of violence risk in a sample of justice-involved adults with severe mental illness (N = 167). Hierarchical logistic regression analyses indicated that exposure to recent violent victimization at the baseline assessment predicted a greater likelihood of engaging in violent behavior during the year follow-up period. Additionally, recent exposure to violence at the baseline assessment continued to explain a significant amount of variance in a model of future violence perpetration above the variance accounted for by well-established violence risk factors. Taken together, the findings suggest that recent victimization is important to consider in understanding and evaluating risk of violence by persons with mental disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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