Predicting violence in schizophrenia: a prospective study

Schizophr Res. 2004 Apr 1;67(2-3):247-52. doi: 10.1016/S0920-9964(03)00091-4.


Background: People with schizophrenia are more violent than the general population, but this increased risk is attributable to the actions of a small subgroup. Identifying those at risk has become an essential part of clinical practice.

Aims: To estimate the risk factors for assault in patients with schizophrenia.

Methods: Two hundred seventy-one patients with schizophrenia were interviewed using an extensive battery of instruments. Assault was measured from multiple data sources over the next 2 years and criminal records were obtained. Multiple sociodemographic and clinical variables measured at baseline were examined as possible predictors of assault during follow-up.

Results: Sixty-nine (25%) patients committed assault during the 2-year follow-up. The model that best predicted assault included a history of recent assault (OR 2.33, 95% CI 1.17-4.61), a previous violent conviction (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.04-3.87), having received special education (OR 2.76, 95% CI 1.22-6.26) and alcohol abuse (OR 3.55, 95% CI 1.24-10.2).

Conclusions: Previously established risk factors including a history of violence and alcohol abuse are replicated in this study. Although low premorbid IQ did not predict violence, a need for special education did.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aggression*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Violence*