Forty-year study of rates of homicide by people with schizophrenia and other homicides in the Chuvash Republic of the Russian Federation

Andrei Golenkov*, Matthew Large, Olav Nielssen, Alla Tsymbalova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
215 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background The extent to which rates of homicide by people with or without schizophrenia vary over time has theoretical and practical implications in understanding homicide by people with mental illness. Aims The aim was to report on the rates of homicide by people diagnosed with schizophrenia over time in a region in which there were dramatic changes in the overall rates of homicide. Methods An examination of homicide by people diagnosed with schizophrenia in the course of judicial psychiatric examination, and the rate of other homicide in the Chuvash Republic of the Russian Federation between 1981 and 2020 was undertaken. Results During the 40 years of the study a total of 5741 people faced legal proceedings for a homicide offence, of whom 179 (3.1%) were diagnosed with schizophrenia. During the study period the average annual total homicide rate rose from about 9 per 100 000 in the 1980s, peaked at 17 per 100 000 in the 1990s before falling to 13 per 100 000 in the 2000s and 6 per 100 000 in the 2010s. Rates of homicide by people with schizophrenia also rose and fell over this period and were significantly associated with the rates of other homicide (r = 0.503, d.f. = 38, P = 0.001). Conclusions The rise and fall in rates of homicide by people diagnosed with schizophrenia in parallel to total homicide suggests that homicidal behaviour might not be intrinsic to the clinical manifestations of the illness, and might instead reflect a heightened vulnerability to social factors that are associated with homicide by people without schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalBJPsych Open
Volume8
Issue number1
Early online date1 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • alcohol
  • criminal responsibility
  • Homicide
  • Russia (Chuvashia)
  • schizophrenia

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