Gender- and violence-related prevalence of mental disorders in prisoners


DOI: 10.1007/s00406-006-0656-4

Cite this article as:
Watzke, S., Ullrich, S. & Marneros, A. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci (2006) 256: 414. doi:10.1007/s00406-006-0656-4



To clarify the prevalence of mental diseases including personality disorders in a sample of German prisoners regarding delinquency and gender specificity.


Crime history, present state and lifetime mental disorders, as well as personality disorders, were assessed amongst 415 inmates and compared regarding gender and type of delinquency.


Female offenders more often committed homicide while male offenders more frequently committed assault and robbery. Men had a higher prevalence of alcohol abuse and dissocial PD while women more often showed depression, anxiety disorders and Borderline PD. Violent offences were related to a higher prevalence of alcohol abuse and dissocial PD, as well as higher comorbidities of mental disorders.


Results emphasize the complexity of the needs and requirements of imprisoned offenders. Our findings reveal an urgent need for psychiatric–psychotherapeutic services to provide suitable care to inmates in order to contribute to a more favorable legal prognosis.

Key words

mental disorders prevalence prisoners violence gender 

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Watzke
    • 1
  • Simone Ullrich
    • 2
  • Andreas Marneros
    • 1
  1. 1.Halle-Wittenberg Klinik und Poliklinik Fü PsychiatrieMartin-Luther-UniversitätHalle/SaaleGermany
  2. 2.Forensic Psychiatry Research Unit, St. Bartholomew’s HospitalQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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