The risk factors of criminal behavior in patients with schizophrenia are not well explored. This study is to explore the risk factors for criminal behavior in patients with schizophrenia in rural China.
We used data from a 14-year prospective follow-up study (1994-2008) of criminal behavior among a cohort (n=510) of patients with schizophrenia in Xinjin County, Chengdu, China.
There were 489 patients (95.9%) who were followed up from 1994 to 2008. The rate of criminal behavior was 13.5% among these patients with schizophrenia during the follow-up period. Compared with female subjects (6 cases, 20.0%), male patients had significantly higher rate of violent criminal behavior (e.g., arson, sexual assault, physical assault, and murder) (24 cases, 80.0%) (p< 0.001). Bivariate analyses showed that the risk of criminal behavior was significantly associated with being unmarried, of younger age, previous violent behavior, homelessness, lower family economic status, no family caregivers, and higher scores on measures (PANSS) of positive, negative, and total symptoms of illness. In multiple logistic regression analyses being unmarried and previous violent behavior were identified as independent predictors of increased criminal behavior in persons with schizophrenia.
The risk factors for criminal behavior among patients with schizophrenia should be understood within a particular social context. Criminal behavior may be predicted by specific characteristics of patients with schizophrenia in rural community. The findings of risk factors for criminal behavior should be considered in planning community mental health care and interventions for high-risk patients and their families.