Self reported rates of criminal offending and victimization in young people at-risk for psychosis

R. Purcell, S. Harrigan, N. Glozier, G. P. Amminger, A. R. Yung

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A significant relationship exists between experiencing psychosis and both engaging in criminal offending and being a victim of crime. A substantial proportion of violence and offending occurs during the first episode of psychosis, but it is unclear whether such behaviour is also evident in the earlier pre-psychotic stage of illness. As part of a prospective study of young people who were seeking help for mental health problems, we enquired about participants' experiences of being charged and/or convicted of a criminal offence and being a victim of crime. This paper uses cross-sectional baseline data to compare the rates of these forensic outcomes in participants at-risk of psychosis (n=271) with those not at-risk (n=440). Univariate logistic regression showed that the at-risk for psychosis group was significantly more likely than the not at-risk participants to report having been charged by police (11.1% vs 5.9%; p=.015) and convicted by the courts (4.4% vs. 1.6%; p=0.028) with a non-violent offence, as well as to have been convicted of any criminal offence (6.3% vs. 3.0%; p=0.037). The at-risk were also more likely to report having been a victim of crime (23.7% vs 14.0%; p=.002), particularly violent victimization (16.5% vs 8.2%; p=.001). In multivariate logistic regression analyses, being at-risk for psychosis remained a significant predictor of three of the four outcome measures after controlling for other known covariates such as gender, age, substance misuse and unemployment. This is the first study to demonstrate that, relative to their non-psychotic help-seeking counterparts, young people at-risk for psychosis are at higher risk of forensic outcomes, particularly violent crime victimization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-59
Number of pages5
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Offending
  • Psychosis
  • Victimization
  • Violence

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