The MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study revisited: two views ten years after its initial publication

Psychiatr Serv. 2008 Feb;59(2):147-52. doi: 10.1176/ps.2008.59.2.147.


This article presents two views of the results of the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study, which was conducted between 1992 and 1995 in order to ascertain the prevalence of community violence in a sample of people discharged from acute psychiatric facilities. The initial findings, which were published in 1998 in the Archives of General Psychiatry, have been cited by some advocates as proof that discharged psychiatric patients are not more dangerous than other persons in the general population. For the article presented here, Dr. Torrey and Mr. Stanley examined additional articles, book chapters, and a book about the MacArthur Study that have appeared since 1998 in order to ascertain whether the study's original conclusion should be modified and whether additional conclusions can be drawn from the subsequently published data. They present six points on which they disagree with the findings or fault the design of the MacArthur Study. After each point, Dr. Monahan, Dr. Steadman, and other authors of the MacArthur Study Group respond.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Research Design
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*