Population-based studies on violent crime and background factors may provide an understanding of the relationships between susceptibility factors and crime. We aimed to determine the distribution of violent crime convictions in the Swedish population 1973-2004 and to identify criminal, academic, parental, and psychiatric risk factors for persistence in violent crime.
The nationwide multi-generation register was used with many other linked nationwide registers to select participants. All individuals born in 1958-1980 (2,393,765 individuals) were included. Persistent violent offenders (those with a lifetime history of three or more violent crime convictions) were compared with individuals having one or two such convictions, and to matched non-offenders. Independent variables were gender, age of first conviction for a violent crime, nonviolent crime convictions, and diagnoses for major mental disorders, personality disorders, and substance use disorders.
A total of 93,642 individuals (3.9%) had at least one violent conviction. The distribution of convictions was highly skewed; 24,342 persistent violent offenders (1.0% of the total population) accounted for 63.2% of all convictions. Persistence in violence was associated with male sex (OR 2.5), personality disorder (OR 2.3), violent crime conviction before age 19 (OR 2.0), drug-related offenses (OR 1.9), nonviolent criminality (OR 1.9), substance use disorder (OR 1.9), and major mental disorder (OR 1.3).
The majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by a small number of persistent violent offenders, typically males, characterized by early onset of violent criminality, substance abuse, personality disorders, and nonviolent criminality.
A second homicide by a released mentally ill person is a potentially avoidable tragedy that can reduce the prospects of conditional release for other mentally ill offenders.
The aim of this study was to compare the clinical and criminological features of single and recidivist homicide offenders with schizophrenia from the Chuvash Republic of the Russian Federation.
Data were extracted from the criminal and clinical records of all people with schizophrenia who had been convicted of a homicide in the Chuvash Republic at any time between 1 January 1981 and 31 December 2010. Those convicted of a second homicide offence during the 30 years of the study were compared with those convicted of a single homicide.
Sixteen (10.7%) of 149 homicide offenders with schizophrenia had committed a previous homicide. The 16 recidivists included nine offenders who were diagnosed with schizophrenia at the time of their first homicide (after January 1981), three who were diagnosed with schizophrenia only after the first homicide and four who had already been diagnosed with schizophrenia at the time of a pre-1981 homicide. Time at risk for recidivists and non-recidivists differed, but the average time back in the community for the non-recidivists just exceeded the average time to second homicide for the recidivists. All the recidivists were men. Living in a rural area and dissocial personality traits were associated with homicide recidivism.
In the Chuvash republic, most of the repeat homicide offences by people with schizophrenia were committed by people residing in rural areas with less access to psychiatric services, which provides indirect evidence for the efficacy of ongoing treatment and supervision in preventing repeat homicides. This area of study is, however, limited by the small numbers of cases and the long follow-up required. International collaborative studies are indicated to provide a more accurate estimate of the rate of recidivist homicide in schizophrenia.
Children born to older fathers are at higher risk to develop severe psychopathology (e.g., schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), possibly because of increased de novo mutations during spermatogenesis with older paternal age. Because severe psychopathology is correlated with antisocial behavior, we examined possible associations between advancing paternal age and offspring violent offending. Interlinked Swedish national registers provided information on fathers' age at childbirth and violent criminal convictions in all offspring born from 1958 to 1979 (N = 2,359,921). We used ever committing a violent crime and number of violent crimes as indices of violent offending. The data included information on multiple levels; we compared differentially exposed siblings in within-family analyses to rigorously test causal influences. In the entire population, advancing paternal age predicted offspring violent crime according to both indices. Congruent with a causal effect, this association remained for rates of violent crime in within-family analyses. However, in within-family analyses, we found no association with ever committing a violent crime, suggesting that factors shared by siblings (genes and environment) confounded this association. Life-course persistent criminality has been proposed to have a partly biological etiology; our results agree with a stronger biological effect (i.e., de novo mutations) on persistent violent offending.
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The genetic and environmental antecedents of two clinically distinct somatoform disorders were compared in 859 Swedish women adopted at an early age by nonrelatives. The characteristics of both the biological and adoptive parents of high-frequency "somatizers" were different from those of diversiform somatizers. The risk of diversiform somatization was increased in the adopted-away daughters of men treated for male-limited (type 2) alcoholism, but not in daughters of milieu-limited (type 1) alcoholics. In contrast, the biological fathers of high-frequency somatizers often had a history of recurrent convictions for violent crimes since adolescence, but no treatment for alcoholism. Similarly, alcohol abuse by the adoptive father was associated with increased risk of diversiform but not high-frequency somatization. Thus, high-frequency and diversiform somatization are not only clinically distinct, but also have different genetic and environmental backgrounds. The association of diversiform somatization with male-limited alcoholism, and not with milieu-limited alcoholism, also provides independent support for our earlier distinction between these two types of alcoholism.