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Sociodemographic, clinical and childhood correlates of adult violent victimisation in a large, national survey sample of people with psychotic disorders



Our aim was to establish the 12-month prevalence of violent victimisation in a large sample of adults with psychotic disorders (N = 1825), compare this to population estimates, and examine correlates of violent victimisation.


The Australian national psychosis survey used a two-phase design to draw a representative sample of adults aged 18–64 years with psychotic disorders. Interview questions included psychopathology, cognition, sociodemographics, substance use, criminality, and childhood and adult victimisation. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine the independent contributions of known risk factors, clinical profile and childhood abuse, on risk of violent victimisation. Differences between men and women were examined.


Among adults with psychotic disorders, 12-month prevalence of any victimisation was 38.6 % (males 37.4 %, females 40.5 %), and of violent victimisation was 16.4 % (males 15.2 %; females 18.3 %). Violent victimisation was 4.8 times higher than the population rate of 3.4 % (6.5 times higher for women; 3.7 times higher for men). Significant correlates of violent victimisation were established sociodemographic and behavioural risk factors predicting victimisation in the general community: younger age, residence in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, homelessness, lifetime alcohol abuse/dependence, and prior criminal offending. Among clinical variables, only mania and self-harm remained significant in the multivariable model. Childhood abuse was independently associated with violent victimisation.


Rates of violent victimisation are high for people with psychotic disorders, especially women, compared to population rates. Greater exposure to sociodemographic and behavioural risks may render them particularly vulnerable to victimisation. Social cognition as a valuable treatment target is discussed.

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This publication is based on data collected in the framework of the 2010 Australian National Survey of High Impact Psychosis. The members of the Survey of High Impact Psychosis Study Group are: V. Morgan (Project Director); A. Jablensky (Chief Scientific Advisor); A. Waterreus (Project Coordinator); A. Mackinnon (Statistician); R. Bush, D. Castle, M. Cohen, C. Galletly, C. Harvey, P. McGorry, J. McGrath, H. Stain (Site Directors); V. Carr (Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank); A. Neil (Health Economics); B. Hocking (SANE Australia); S. Saw (Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing). This report acknowledges, with thanks, the hundreds of mental health professionals who participated in the preparation and conduct of the survey and the many Australians with psychotic disorders who gave their time and whose responses form the basis of this publication. The survey was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing under contract to The University of Western Australia. The study sponsor had a role in the design of the original survey but did not have any role in the design or interpretation of the data analysis reported here, or in the writing of this paper, or the decision to submit this paper for publication.

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Correspondence to Vera A. Morgan.

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Ethical standards

The authors confirm that this study was approved by the appropriate institutional human research ethics committees at each of the study sites, and have therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All participants provided written, informed consent prior to participation.

Conflict of interest

V. Morgan, F. Morgan, S. Shah, G. Valuri and A. Jablensky declare that they have no conflict of interest. C. Galletly has received speaker honoraria and conference support from Lundbeck, conference support from Servier and advisory panel fees from Janssen Cilag. She is/has been involved in clinical trials with Lundbeck, Forum Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Cilag.

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Morgan, V.A., Morgan, F., Galletly, C. et al. Sociodemographic, clinical and childhood correlates of adult violent victimisation in a large, national survey sample of people with psychotic disorders. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 51, 269–279 (2016).

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  • Victimisation
  • Schizophrenia
  • Childhood abuse
  • Sex differences
  • Criminal offending