Proximal Risk Factors for Short-Term Community Violence Among Adults With Mental Illnesses
Objective: This study examined the role of static indicators and proximal, clinically relevant indicators in the prediction of short-term community violence in a large, heterogeneous sample of adults with mental illnesses.
Methods: Data were pooled from five studies of adults with mental illnesses (N=4,484). Follow-up data were available for 2,579 participants. A hierarchical linear regression assessed the incremental validity of a series of variable clusters in the prediction of violence risk at six months: static characteristics (age, sex, race-ethnicity, and primary diagnosis), substance use (alcohol use and drug use at baseline), clinical functioning (psychiatric symptoms at baseline and recent hospitalization), recent violence, and recent victimization.
Results: Results demonstrated improved prediction with each step of the model, indicating that proximal indicators contributed to the prediction of short-term community violence above and beyond static characteristics. When all variables were entered, current alcohol use, recent violence, and recent victimization were positive predictors of subsequent violence, even after the analysis controlled for participant characteristics.
Conclusions: This study provides empirical evidence for three proximal, clinically relevant indicators in the assessment and management of short-term violence risk among adults with mental illnesses: current alcohol use, recent violence, and recent victimization. Consideration of these indicators in clinical practice may assist in the identification of adults with mental illnesses who are at heightened risk of short-term community violence.