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The influence of mental illness and personality disorders on violent behavior

The influence of mental illness and personality disorders on violent behavior

4:1 discussion

This week, you discuss the influence of mental illness and personality disorders on violent behavior. You address how state versus trait impacts violent crime and whether an offender’s action could lead to an insanity defense.

Required Readings

Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2017). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

  • Chapter 8, “Crime and Mental Disorders” (pp. 213–246)

Hodgins, S. (2001). The major mental disorders and crime: Stop debating and start treating and preventing. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 24(4–5), 427–446. 

Monahan, J., & Steadman, H. J. (2001). Violence risk assessment: A quarter century of research. In L. E. Frost & R. J. Bonnie (Eds.), Evolution of Mental Health Law (pp. 195–211). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016a). Death in the family [Podcast]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016b). Eye see you [Podcast]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016c). Nowhere to hide [Podcast]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Discussion: Mental Illness and Violent Crime

In 2016, Esteban Santiago showed up at the FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska, saying he had been hearing voices telling him to watch ISIS videos. He was admitted to a mental health facility for 3 days, then released. A few months later, he bought a one-way ticket to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, checking a bag containing a handgun. Upon arrival he claimed the bag, went into the restroom to load the gun, and upon exiting the restroom began shooting, killing five people and injuring six others (Rabin, 2017; Sanchez & Conlon, 2017). Was Santiago mentally ill at the time of the crime and, if so, could he be considered legally sane?

Santiago is just one example of a mentally ill individual committing a violent crime, but not all mentally ill individuals commit violent crimes. In this Discussion, you look at factors associated with mental illness that may lead to violent behavior.

Discussion: To prepare for this

  • Review the Learning Resources.

Explain whether mental illness makes one more likely to engage in violent behavior when compared to the general population. Justify your response. Are there specific factors associated with mental illness that would lead to violent behavior? Justify your response. How does state versus trait impact violent crime?

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