Stability of life-time psychiatric diagnoses among offenders in community and prison settings

Michelle R. Schilders, James R P Ogloff

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The dearth of studies investigating diagnostic stability among offenders, and diagnostic stability being important from the patient’s mental health perspective, as well as from a public health, training and research standpoint, highlights the need to evaluate lifetime stability of ICD-10 psychiatric diagnoses for offenders in community and prison settings. A case-linkage design linked a two-year population-based cohort of male-sentenced prisoners with a state-wide psychiatric register (23,742 psychiatric consultations). Four measures of diagnostic stability were calculated for each setting as well as across settings, for all offenders who received at least two psychiatric diagnoses. Temporal consistency was moderate for schizophrenia spectrum disorders and low for affective, anxiety and personality disorders, and was higher in prison setting than community settings. Diagnostic instability highlights that the course of mental illness and clinical features among offenders may genuinely vary over time, across community and prison settings and may lead to complexities regarding psychiatric care for this population

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-154
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017


  • Diagnostic stability
  • prospective consistency
  • psychiatric diagnosis
  • psychiatric disorders
  • retrospective consistency

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