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Increased symptoms lead mentally disordered to become victims of violence
Date:4/14/2009

the ways in which we might do that is self defensive violence. We might strike first and that would lead to the victimization of these folks," Teasdale said. "If there's a person that could intercede before that happens, that may be one strategy for reducing victimization risk."

The findings of the study are important for clinicians who must pay attention to warning signs of worsening disorders as potential risk markers for violent behavior committed by their client, Teasdale said. They could also aid in the creation of assessment tools that focus on victimization risk and classes that better educate families about caring for the mentally ill.

Clinicians also could provide clients suggestions for reducing victimization risk when they notice patients exhibiting greater than usual symptoms, Teasdale said. For instance, during these times clinicians may recommend spending less time in public spaces, increases in guardianship or mandated community treatment programs.

"Most of us know people who have mental disorders. These are our family members and our friends and so we should care about their victimization experience," Teasdale said. "The stereotypes persist because people are unaware of the victimization risk to people with mental illness. If they learned that victimization risk were higher than the violence commission rates, I think that would help alleviate some of that stigma and help people think about people with mental disorders in a different way."

The study, "Mental Disorder and Violent Victimization," was published in the 2009 edition of Criminal Justice and Behavior.


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Contact: Leah Seupersad
lvh@gsu.edu
404-413-1354
Georgia State University
Source:Eurekalert

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