Characteristics of psychiatric inpatients who stalk, threaten, or harass hospital staff after discharge

Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Aug;155(8):1102-5. doi: 10.1176/ajp.155.8.1102.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify demographic and clinical characteristics of psychiatric inpatients who stalk, threaten, or harass hospital staff after discharge.

Method: The authors retrospectively summarized the demographic and clinical characteristics of 17 inpatients who engaged in this type of behavior and a comparison group of 326 inpatients.

Results: The patients who stalked, threatened, or harassed staff after discharge were significantly more likely than the comparison patients to have a diagnosis of personality disorder and/or paranoid disorder, erotomanic subtype, and to have a history of physically assaultive or fear-inducing behavior. The data suggest that they were more likely to be male and never married and to have histories of multiple hospitalizations, suicidal or self-injurious behavior, and substance abuse or dependence.

Conclusions: The findings reveal several risk factors that may be useful in identifying a subgroup of patients who pose a risk of directing aggressive behavior toward hospital staff after discharge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Commitment of Mentally Ill
  • Dangerous Behavior*
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Personnel, Hospital*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Security Measures
  • Sex Factors
  • Violence / psychology