A meta-analysis of the relationship between psychosis and any type of criminal offending, in both men and women

Natalia Yee, Sandra Matheson, Daria Korobanova, Matthew Large, Olav Nielssen, Vaughan Carr, Kimberlie Dean*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Psychosis is known to be associated with an increased risk of violent offending, but the risk of criminal offending of any type is not so well understood, including the nature and extent of any differences in offending risk for men and women with psychosis. Methods: A systematic search of electronic databases from 1970 to March 2020 was conducted to identify studies comparing criminal offending amongst those with psychosis to a general population sample. A meta-analysis was performed, with separate analyses undertaken for men and women. Results: Eight studies, with a total of 15,446 individuals with psychosis and 186,752 controls from general population sources, met our inclusion criteria. The pooled odds ratio for any type of criminal offending for men with psychosis was 2.42 (95% CI = 1.63–3.59), and for women it was 2.81 (95% CI = 2.11–3.76). Substantial between study heterogeneity was identified. Conclusions: Although the pooled odds ratio for all types of offending was not as high as has been found for violence, those with psychotic illness were more than twice as likely to have had contact with the criminal justice system for any type of criminal offence, compared to the general population. Little difference in risk was seen for women compared to men with psychosis. Clinical risk assessments and the development of interventions to reduce risk of contact with the criminal justice system should consider that risk of offending for those with psychosis extends right across the spectrum of offence types.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)16-24
    Number of pages9
    JournalSchizophrenia Research
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


    • Crime
    • Justice
    • Offending
    • Psychosis
    • Sex differences


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