The Association Between Mental Illness and Violence

  • Lia AhonenEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Criminology book series (BRIEFSCRIMINOL)


This chapter reviews previous empirical research results investigating the association between mental illness and violence. Over the last several decades, the USA has suffered from a large number of mass shootings, and more often than not, mental illness is blamed. Mental illness can explain only a very small fraction of general violence, however, and even less specifically for gun violence. Only a few specific mental disorders can be associated with violence, most commonly first-episode psychosis, and schizophrenia with positive symptoms such as hallucinations and command delusions. The most common diagnosis in the USA, depression, is not associated with violence except in the rare cases in which psychosis is presented. The chapter concludes with a discussion about the duty to report, access to health care, and help-seeking.


Violence Mental illness Association Guns Attributable risk 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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