No types of major psychiatric disorders contribute at all towards a higher likelihood of future violent behavior, according to a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. However the researchers found, as have many other studies, that substance abuse and addiction were positive predictors.
The Northwestern University researchers used data from the Northwestern Juvenile Project, a longitudinal study of youth who were detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago between 1995 and 1998, explained a press release about the study. “Violence and psychiatric disorders were assessed via self-report in 1,659 youth aged 13 to 25 years interviewed up to four times between three and five years after detention.”
“Aside from substance use disorders, the psychiatric disorders studied may not be useful markers of subsequent violence,” the researchers wrote.
“Our findings are relevant to the recent tragic plane crash in the French Alps,” said a co-author in the press release. “Our findings show that no one could have predicted that the pilot — who apparently suffered from depression — would perpetrate this violent act. It is not merely a suicide, but an act of mass homicide.”
Mental disorders don’t predict future violence, study suggests (Northwestern University press release on ScienceDaily, April 24, 2015)
Elkington, Katherine S., Linda A. Teplin, Karen M. Abram, Jessica A. Jakubowski, Mina K. Dulcan, and Leah J. Welty. “Psychiatric Disorders and Violence: A Study of Delinquent Youth After Detention.” Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 54, no. 4 (April 1, 2015): 302–12.e5. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2015.01.002. (Abstract)