To analyze the causes of mortality among patients committed to compulsory forensic psychiatric hospital treatment in Finland during 1980-2009 by categorizing the causes of mortality into somatic diseases, suicides and other unnatural deaths.
The causes of mortality were analyzed among 351 patients who died during the follow-up. Standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was calculated as the ratio of observed and expected number of deaths by using the subject-years methods with 95% confidence intervals, assuming a Poisson distribution. The expected number of deaths was calculated on the basis of sex-, age- and calendar-period-specific mortality rates for the Finnish population.
The vast majority (249/351) of deaths were due to a somatic disease with SMR of 2.6 (mean age at death 61 years). Fifty nine patients committed suicide with a SMR of 7.1 (mean age at death 40 years). Four patients were homicide victims (mean age at death 40 years) and 32 deaths were accidental (mean age at death 52 years). The combined homicides and accidental deaths resulted in a SMR of 1.7.
The results of this study point out that the high risk for suicide should receive attention when the hospital treatment and the outpatient care is being organized for forensic psychiatric patients. In addition, the risk of accidents should be evaluated and it should be assured that the patients receive proper somatic healthcare during the forensic psychiatric treatment and that it continues also in the outpatient setting.
The contribution of women to violent offending, including homicide, may be increasing as society changes.
The aim of this paper was to test for trends in homicide by women in Finland.
A retrospective register-based study was conducted by comparing two national cohorts: one from 1982 to 1992 and the other from 1993 to 2005.
There was a small increase in the proportion of homicides committed by women over time, but the most striking difference between the cohorts was in the significantly higher frequency of alcohol abuse/dependence in the later cohort and of being under the influence of alcohol during the crime. Fewer perpetrators were regarded as lacking or being of diminished responsibility in the later cohort. The victims of the earlier cohort were emotionally closer to the offender than those of the later one.
In Finland, there have been changes in characteristics of women who commit homicide and their crimes over time, with the apparent development of a subgroup of women who kill who are much more like men who kill than women in the 1980s and early 1990s. Preventing substance abuse and marginalization are likely to be important ways of preventing homicide by both female and male perpetrators.
Filicide, the killing of one's child, is an extraordinary form of homicide. It has commonly been associated with suicide and parental psychiatric illness. In the research on filicide, nationwide studies with comparison groups, specific perpetrator subgroups, and assessment of possible risk factors have been called for. The purpose of the current study was to provide all that.
In this nationwide register-based case-control study all filicide offenders who were in a forensic psychiatric examination in Finland 1995-2004 were examined and compared with an age- and gender matched control group of homicide offenders. The assessed variables were psychosocial history, index offence, and psychiatric variables as well as psychopathy using the PCL-R.
Filicide offenders were not significantly more often diagnosed with psychotic disorders than the controls but they had attempted suicide at the crime scene significantly more often. Filicide offenders had alcohol abuse/dependence and antisocial personality less often than the controls. Filicide offenders scored significantly lower on psychopathy than the controls. Within the group of filicide offenders, the psychopathy items with relatively higher scores were lack of remorse or guilt, shallow affect, callous/lack of empathy, poor behavioral controls, and failure to accept responsibility.
Since filicide offenders did not seem significantly more mentally disordered than the other homicide offenders, psychiatry alone cannot be held responsible for the prevention of filicide. Extensive international studies are needed to replicate our findings and provide more specific knowledge in order to enhance prevention.
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The construct of psychopathy is essential in explaining criminal behavior, but unfortunately the empirical research on psychopathy in women has been inconsistent. In this study the underlying structure of psychopathy in women was examined by testing the two-factor model by Hare (2003) and the three-factor solution by Cooke and Michie (2001) using confirmatory factor analysis. We replicated the study by Warren et al. (2003) using a nationwide sample of 97 female homicide offenders in order to facilitate the comparison of results. The prevalence of psychopathy in the present study was 9.3% with a cut-off of >or=30 and 21.6% with a cut-off of >or=25. The best fit for the data out of the tested models was the three-factor model with six testlets. The two-factor model proved to be too simple a model for the female homicide data. The findings regarding comorbidity of psychopathy with personality disorders show that the concept of psychopathy includes diagnostic criteria of several personality disorders, but further research is needed to establish a possible superordinate dimension. Further research on the PCL-R and putative gender differences in the expression of psychopathy in women and men as well as on the putative impact of cultural differences on the instrument is clearly needed.
Identification of the risk factors underlying impulsivity related to violent acts is an essential component of risk assessment and management to reduce violent offending.
Our aim was to develop a clinically useful measure for assessing impulsivity related to violence. Our research questions were which items in the newly developed measure are associated with later violent recidivism and what is the measure's predictive validity?
A new scale, the impulsivity measure related to violence (IMP-V), was studied by completing the scale, blind to outcome, from information in the forensic psychiatric examination reports of 63 of a 1-year referral cohort of 181 Finnish offenders. Data on reoffending for up to 15 years after release were collected from official criminal records.
The predictive accuracy of the IMP-V continuous ratings was 78% and for the categorical summary risk ratings 77%. Univariate analyses of categorical summary risk ratings of the risk factors revealed that, with two exceptions, each additional score on the IMP-V was associated with a significant increase in violence recidivism.
These preliminary results indicate that the IMP-V is a promising decision-enhancing guide for assessing the risk of violence in impulsive people and that the measure is worth developing for use with impulsivity-prone offenders and forensic psychiatric patients. The IMP-V organises information on the nature of impulsivity in violence-prone persons and thus also creates opportunities for more effective risk management.
Common features for violent Finnish females and males include early underprivileged life and substance abuse. Women may commit mild partner violence as often as men. The female proportion of homicide sentences in Finland has increased during past decades, apparently most significantly influenced by the increased alcohol consumption among women. Partner homicides committed by women are often associated with self-defense aspects. Homicidal situations directed against children are often associated with self-destructive behavior by the perpetrator.
Filicide is the tragic crime of murdering one's own child. Previous research has found that the offending parents are commonly depressed and that suicide is often associated as an actual act or an intention. Yet, filicide is an underreported crime and previous studies have been strained with methodological problems. No comprehensive international studies on filicide have been presented in the literature until now.
This was a descriptive, comprehensive, register-based study of all filicides in Austria and Finland during 1995-2005. Filicide-suicide cases were also included.
Most of the perpetrators were the biological mothers; in Austria 72%, in Finland 52%. Suicide followed filicide either as an attempt or a fulfilled act in 32% and 54% of the cases in Austria and Finland, respectively. Psychotic mood disorders were diagnosed for 10% of the living perpetrators in Austria, and 12% in Finland. Non-psychotic depression was diagnosed in 9% of surviving perpetrators in Austria, 35% in Finland.
The data from the two countries demonstrated that filicide is such a multifaceted and rare phenomenon that national data from individual countries seldom offer sufficient scope for its thorough study. Further analyses are needed to produce a complete picture of filicide.
All filicides (child homicides by parents) in Finland during 1995-2005 were elucidated in a register study. The material consisted of 50 parents of 66 killed children.
Altogether 15 parents also committed suicide. After the deed, 31 parents were subjected to psychiatric examination; ten out of them had a psychotic disorder. A personality disorder was found in 16 parents and a non-psychotic affective disorder in 12 parents.
Homicidal parents differ from other homicidal persons. Prevention of suicides is also expected to prevent homicide mortality among children.
This study searched for gender differences in filicidal offense characteristics and associated variables.
In this bi-national register-based study all filicide perpetrators (75 mothers and 45 fathers) and their crimes in Austria and Finland 1995-2005 were examined for putative gender differences. The assessed variables were associated with the offense characteristics, the offenders' socioeconomic and criminal history, and related stressful events.
Mothers had previously committed violent offenses less often than fathers (5% vs. 28%, p
Approximately 10% of the homicides in Finland are committed by females. This study was designed to compare offence circumstances and crime scene behaviour among female and male homicide offenders. The forensic examination reports and crime reports of all female offenders prosecuted for a homicide between 1995 and 2004 were collected and content analysed (n=91). A sample of male offenders was selected for a comparison group. In addition to several bivariate analyses, two multidimensional scaling analyses were conducted to identify the underlying structure of the offence characteristics-related variables in male and female offenders. The results showed that family members were the victims of female offenders more frequently than of male offenders. Child victims were almost always killed by females. No significant difference emerged between the gender groups in the proportion of victims being former intimate partners. The results also showed that different offence characteristics relate to offender gender and type of victim. In male offenders, covering the body relates to moving and hiding an acquaintance victim's body, while in females it relates to emotional detachment and family member victim. For females, post-offence behaviours that relate to seek for help and regret were more frequent than for males. There were only marginal differences in the use of violence between females and males.