Homicide and mental disorder in a region with a high homicide rate

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


There are few studies of the relationship between mental disorder and homicide offences from regions with high rates of homicide. We examined the characteristics and psychiatric diagnoses of homicide offenders from the Chuvash Republic of the Russian Federation, a region of Russia with a high total homicide rate. In the 30 years between 1981 and 2010, 3414 homicide offenders were the subjected to pre-trial evaluations by experienced psychiatrists, almost half of whom (1596, 46.7%) met the international classification of diseases (ICD) 10 criteria for at least one mental disorder. The six most common individual diagnoses were alcohol dependence (15.9%), acquired organic mental disorder (7.3%), personality disorder (7.1%), schizophrenia (4.4%) and intellectual disability (3.6%). More than one disorder was found in 7.4% of offenders and alcohol dependence was the most frequently diagnosed co-morbid disorder. One in ten offenders were found to be not criminally responsible for their actions. Few homicides involved the use of substances other than alcohol, and firearms were used in 1.6% of homicides. The finding that people with mental disorders other than psychosis committed a high proportion of homicides in a region with a high rate of homicide, suggests that people with mental disorders are vulnerable to similar sociological factors to those that contribute to homicide offences by people who do not have mental disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalAsian Journal of Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Criminal responsibility
  • Homicide
  • Mental disorder
  • Russia (Chuvashia)


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