Forensic psychiatric inpatients and aggression: an exploration of incidence, prevalence, severity, and interventions by gender

Int J Law Psychiatry. Jan-Feb 2009;32(1):23-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2008.11.007. Epub 2008 Dec 11.

Abstract

Background: Previous investigations suggest that women judged to be not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCR-MD) differ markedly from their male counterparts in important ways, underscoring the necessity of subsequent study.

Objective: The goal of the present study was to inform our understanding of the presenting profile of female forensic psychiatric patients and contrast their risk of inpatient aggression with their male counterparts.

Method: The population of patients assessed and/or treated at a secure Canadian forensic psychiatric hospital were available for study. In total, 527 patients had complete data and were part of intensive retrospective file reviews; inpatient aggression was evaluated using the Overt Aggression Scale.

Results: Women were no less likely than men to have a violent index offence and to perpetrate inpatient aggression. Examining the range of aggressive behaviours and severity levels did little to increase the relevance of gender to inpatient risk.

Discussion: Female forensic patients represent a highly selected subgroup of women with exceptional clinical and behavioural challenges and associated treatment needs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aggression*
  • British Columbia
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors*
  • Violence / prevention & control
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*