The individualistic fallacy (i.e., the fallacy of assuming that individual-level outcomes can be explained exclusively in terms of individual-level characteristics) is a problem with most research on violence, and is particularly problematic in research on mental disorder and violence. This article illustrates the importance of measuring community context by showing that race is not an important predictor of violence among persons with mental disorders when neighborhood disadvantage is controlled statistically. More generally, these results suggest that researchers run the risk of perpetuating the individualistic fallacy in studies of violence by persons with mental disorders when they use individual-level risk factors as predictors, but do not control for community context.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- General Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health