The aims of this paper are to review data on the prevalence and correlates of violent victimization of persons with severe mental illness, to critically evaluate the literature, and to explore possible approaches for future research. PubMed/MEDLINE and PsycINFO databases were searched using several terms related to severe mental illness in successive combinations with terms describing victimization. The searches identified 34 studies. Nine epidemiological studies indicate that patients with severe mental illness are more likely to be violently victimized than other community members. Young age, comorbid substance use, and homelessness are risk factors for victimization. Victimized patients are more likely to engage in violent behavior than other members of the community. Violent victimization of persons with severe mental illness has long-term adverse consequences for the course of their illness, and further impairs the quality of lives of patients and their families. Victimization of persons with severe mental illness is a serious medical and social problem. Prevention and management of victimization should become a part of routine clinical care for patients with severe mental illness.
Keywords: bipolar disorder; schizophrenia; severe mental illness; victimization; violence.