2005 issue 4


Volume 14, issue 4

Original article

Situational determinants of aggressive acts committed by schizophrenic patients

1. Zakład Rehabilitacji Psychospołecznej Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Łodzi
2. Klinika Psychiatrii Sądowej Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2005; 14 (4): 277-284
Keywords: schizophrenia, aggression, victimology


Objectives. The paper presents circumstances under which aggressive acts were committed by patients with schizophrenia, as well as the relationship between the criminogenic situation and type of their aggression, in cases referred by courts to the Psychiatric Committee for Security Measures in the years 1998-2004.

Methods. Psychiatric court opinions and court records were analysed in 33 cases of homicide perpetrators, 24 perpetrators of battery, and 14 perpetrators ofpunishable threats.

Results. In the period preceding the critical event aggressive confrontation was the most often noted type of relation between the mentally ill and their environment, occurring with a similar frequency in all the cases. In terms of victimology the future victims' behavior towards the perpetrator can be regarded as some form of "provocation " or "carelessness ". The perpetrators' behavior at the time of the aggressive act was characterized by drasticality and determination. The victims of homicide were most often the perpetrators ' relatives. Perpetrators of punishable threats usually demonstrated their aggressive behaviors towards a larger number of persons they had known earlier. In the group of battery perpetrators, who manifested aggression of middling intensity, victims were rather random and in various relations with the perpetrator. The proportion of men and women was equal only in the group of battery victims, while in the remaining two groups of victims males predominated. Sobriety at the time of aggressive act turned out to be an insignificant variable that did not differentiate between the three groups. The mostfrequent responses to the perpetrator 's aggressive behavior were the victim 's active resistance or passivity, similar across the three groups. Immediately after the prohibited act the battery perpetrators usually passively waited to be arrested, perpetrators of punishable threats escaped from the locus delicti, while homicide perpetrators were the only ones who obliterated the traces of crime.

Conclusions. Thefindings confirm that both the psychological state ofperpetrators suffering from schizophrenia, and their victims' behavior contributed to the criminogenic situation. The perpetrators' behavior at the time of the act was characterized by a considerable intensity of aggression. The type and direction of schizophrenic perpetrators' aggressive behavior were dependent on their relations with the victim.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Przemysław Cynkier, Oddział Psychiatrii Sądowej Wojewódzkiego Samodzielnego Psychiatrycznego Zespołu Publicznych Zakładów Opieki Zdrowotnej im. prof. J. Mazurkiewicza, ul. Partyzantów 2/4, 05-802 Pruszków, tel. (22) 7586303