Violence and mental illness: a new analytic approach

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Humans; Incidence; Mental Disorders; Periodicity; Prevalence; Violence


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Empirical studies of violence and mental illness have used many different methods. Current state-of-the-art methods gather information from both subject and collateral interviews as well as official records. Typically these sources are treated as additive. Any report of a violent incident from any source is treated as true and all reported incidents are added to generate estimates of frequency. This paper presents a new statistical technique that uses the level of agreement between the sources of data to adjust those estimates. The evidence suggests that, although the additive technique for using multiple sources correctly estimates how many people are involved, it substantially underestimates the number of incidents. The new technique substantially reduces both false negatives and false positives.

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Citation: Law Hum Behav. 2007 Feb;31(1):23-31. Epub 2007 Jan 4. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Law and human behavior

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID