Self Reports of Violence: Ex‐Mental Patients, Ex‐Offenders, and the General Population


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Self‐report data are used to compare the relative incidence of aggression and violence among ex‐mental patients, ex‐offenders, and the general population and to examine the effect of socio‐demographic variables on the frequency of these behaviors. Frequency was measured by reported frequencies of aggressive behaviors during the preceding year, by whether respondents could recall serious disputes, and by the recency of the disputes they recalled. In support of studies that have relied on official arrest statistics, the evidence suggests that ex‐offenders engage in violence with greater frequency than the other two groups and that they have a greater tendency to physically attack and injure their antagonists when involved in violent disputes. Ex‐mental patients appear to use weapons more frequently than the general population, but they are no more likely to injure antagonists. In contrast to labeling theory, police were no more likely to become involved or to make an arrest in incidents involving ex‐patients or ex‐offenders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-342
Number of pages22
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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