Public Perceptions and Experts’ Opinions: Causes, Correlates, and Prevention
In this chapter, a qualitative study is presented which identifies the discrepancies between public and expert perceptions on the causes of violence, and how violence can best be prevented. The results show large differences in public and expert opinions with respect to the degree that mentally ill individuals are prone to violent behavior, with the public more in favor of arming school personnel, increased police presence at schools, and enforced security in public spaces. The experts were not in favor of those solutions and were critical to the way mental illness is reported into the National Instant Background Check System. The chapter includes a discussion regarding background checks as a measure to prevent mentally ill individuals from committing violence and concludes with a discussion on future research needs and implications for practice.
KeywordsPublic perception Experts Mental illness Violence Shootings Background checks Gun laws
- Ahonen, L., Loeber, R., & Brent, D. A. (2017). The association between serious mental health problems and violence: Some common assumptions and misconceptions. Trauma Violence Abuse, 1524838017726423. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838017726423.
- Blumenthal, S., & Lavender, T. (2001). Violence and mental disorder: A critical aid to the assessment and management of risk. London, England: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. (2016). Identify prohibited persons. Retrieved from https://www.atf.gov/firearms/identify-prohibited-persons.
- Bushman, B. J., Coyne, S. M., Anderson, C. A., Björkqvist, K., Boxer, P., Dodge, K. A., … Ybarra, M. L. (2018). Risk factors for youth violence: Youth violence commission, International Society For Research On Aggression (ISRA). Aggressive Behavior, 44(4), 331–336. https://doi.org/10.1002/ab.21766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Desmarais, S. L., Van Dorn, R. A., Johnson, K. L., Grimm, K. J., Douglas, K. S., & Swartz, M. S. (2014). Community violence perpetration and victimization among adults with mental illnesses. American Journal of Public Health, 104(12), 2342–2349. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2013.301680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Elbogen, E. B., & Johnson, S. C. (2009). The intricate link between violence and mental disorder: Results from the National epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions. Archives of General Psychiatry, 66(2), 152–161. https://doi.org/10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2008.537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fazel, S., Doll, H., & Långström, N. (2008). Mental disorders among adolescents in juvenile detention and correctional facilities: A systematic review and metaregression analysis of 25 surveys. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47(9), 1010–1019. https://doi.org/10.1097/CHI.ObO13e31817eecf3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fazel, S., Wolf, A., Palm, C., & Lichtenstein, P. (2014). Violent crime, suicide, and premature mortality in patients with schizophrenia and related disorders: A 38-year total population study in Sweden. Lancet Psychiatry, 1(1), 44–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(14)70223-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2015). National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS). Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/nics.
- Gallup. (2011). Retrieved from https://news.gallup.com/poll/145757/Americans-Link-Gun-Laws-Mental-Health-Mass-Shootings.aspx.
- Gallup. (2012). Retrieved from http://news.gallup.com/poll/159422/stop-shootings-americans-focus-police-mental-health.aspx.
- Gallup. (2013). Retrieved from http://news.gallup.com/poll/164507/americans-fault-mental-health-system-gun-violence.aspx.
- Gallup. (2018). Retrieved from https://news.gallup.com/poll/234800/news-key-insights-americans-views-guns.aspx.
- Monahan, J. (1992a). “A terror to their neighbors”: Beliefs about mental disorder and violence in historical and cultural perspective. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 20(2), 191–195.Google Scholar
- Stuart, H. (2003). Violence and mental illness: An overview. World Psychiatry, 2(2), 121–124.Google Scholar
- Swanson, J. W., Sampson, N. A., Petukhova, M. V., Zaslavsky, A. M., Appelbaum, P. S., Swartz, M. S., et al. (2015b). Guns, impulsive angry behavior, and mental disorders: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Behavioral Sciences & The Law, 33(2–3), 199–212. https://doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar