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Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 1998 Dec;33 Suppl 1:S107-13.

Clinical prediction of violence as a conditional judgment.

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  • 1Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, PA 15213, USA.


Previous research on the prediction of violence in mentally ill individuals has focused primarily on determinations about the appropriateness of institutional confinement. The assessment and management of violent, mentally ill individuals in the community, however, requires clinicians to take a more detailed look at the factors that might precipitate or inhibit violence in the community. This paper examines a model of conditional prediction, in which clinicians provide assessments of the factors that they expect to be associated with violence in particular patients. These types of predictions were elicited from clinicians for a sample of 712 patients seen in an urban psychiatric emergency room. These patients were then followed in the community for 6 months, using both interviews and official records. Results showed that clinicians were generally accurate about the seriousness and location of the violence, but overestimated the role of medication compliance and drug use in the violent incidents.

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