Mental Disorder and Crime

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  1. How are diagnostic systems used to classify mental abnormality?
    • Instruments are aimed to help diagnosis 
    • Overt symptoms such as behaviours are judged to indicate if something is wrong internally which should be diagnosed, classified and treated 
    • It is assumed that mental illness can stem from multiple factors in the brain 
    • The two most commonly used systems are the international classification of diseases, injuries and causes of death and the diagnostic statistical manual of mental disorders
  2. What is the DSM-5?
    • Diagnostic statistical manual of mental disorders volume 5
    • Provides criteria to define and classify various mental disorders, this criteria must be met in order for a diagnosis to be met
    • Provides treatment recommendations 
    • Criticised by the British psychological society in a 2011 report
    • Disorders classified as 'not otherwise specified' are a huge proportion (30%)
    • Diagnostic categories don't predict response to medications or other interventions where more specific formulations might (Moncrieff, 2007)
    • Top down method is ineffective, should start with experiences and work up
    • Statistical analysis of problems from community samples show that they don't map onto past or current (Mirowsky & Ross, 2003)
  3. Give an example of guidance for diagnosing a mental health problem from the DSM-V
    • 'A pervasive pattern of disregard for and the violation of the rights of others'
    • Must be 18
    • Must have 3 from the following:
    • Conduct disorder before 15
    • Irritability and aggressiveness 
    • Disregard for the rights of others
    • Reckless disregard for the safety of others 
    • Impulsive, irresponsible behaviour 
    • Lack of remorse 
    • Deceitfulness 
    • Low tolerance for frustration and boredom
    • BPS (2011) argues that the classification as this as an illness detracts from the social factors that help to cause it
  4. What is the mad vs bad debate?
    • Some theories suggest that crime is abnormal, an indication of some psychological disorder, and that criminality is a sickness that can be cured 
    • Others theorise that offending is executed in the same way, and for some of the same reasons as other everyday activities, and that crime is normal
    • The general consensus is that most crime is normal and that some is indicative of disorder
  5. How prevalent is mental disorder in prison populations?
    • People with mental disorders are over-represented 
    • 16% of prisoners reported a mental condition or had spent at least 1 night in a mental hospital (US bureau of justice, 1999)
    • Steadman et al (2009) used a structured criminal interview and found that 14.5% of males and 31% of females in prison suffered from serious mental illness
    • Could be caused by prison
  6. What is schizophrenia?
    • A group of disorders characterised by disturbances of perception, thought, affect and action (Palmer, 2013)
    • Attributed to an interaction between genes and environment 
    • Around 1% of the population have it 
    • Onset usually occurs from mid teens to middle age
  7. Is schizophrenia more common amongst prisoners?
    • Yes- Fazel & Danesh (2002)
    • Examined psychiatric surveys of prison populations from 12 mainly western countries (over 60 surveys and over 22,500 reports)
    • Around 4% had psychotic illness, mainly schizophrenia 
    • Prisoners were found to be 2-4 x more likely to have schizophrenia
  8. Is Schizophrenia correlated with violence?
    • Yes -Fazel et al (2009)
    • Meta analysis of risk of violence for people with schizophrenia as opposed to risk for general population 
    • Measured using self reports of criminal convictions for violence 
    • A diagnosis of schizophrenia was reliably associated with an increased risk of violence amongst men and women
  9. Why do more schizophrenics offend?
    • The relationship between schizophrenia and crime could be causal, correlational or consequential (Palmer, 2013)
    • Causal: people respond to delusions criminally 
    • Correlational: factors that are thought to be associated with schizophrenia are also implicated in criminal behaviour such as living in a dysfunctional family. Sudden life events should prompt both outcomes
    • Consequential: committing a crime is stressful and traumatic, this could increase the likelihood of exhibiting schizophrenic symptoms
  10. What is the difference between psychopathy and sociopathy?
    • Psychopathy: characterised by a chronic disturbance to the self, others and their environment causing distress and harm to others and a failure to complete their social obligations' APA (2000)
    • Charming, manipulative, impulsive, vain and arrogant, unable to feel and understand emotions 
    • Sociopathy: share many characteristics with psychopaths but lack the superficial charm due to a lack of socialisation
  11. How is psychopathy diagnosed?
    • Harder to detect that other mental disorders due to the lack of physical symptoms 
    • Interaction of genetic and environmental factors
    • Complete the Hare (2003) checklist using interviews and case files 
    • Out of 40, 30+ indicates psychopathy
  12. Are psychopaths more criminal?
    • Yes - Hare (2003), the general population is around 1% psychopathic and the prison population is 10-30%
    • Yes- Porter & Woodworth (2006), psychopaths commit disproportionate amounts of violent crime 
    • Yes- Moffitt (1993), psychopaths are typically life-course persistent offenders 
    • Yes- Porter & Porter (2007), homicides committed by psychopaths are generally more savage and premeditated
  13. Why are psychopaths more likely to offend?
    • Hart (1998)
    • Exhibit cognitive biases that make offending more likely to occur (such as hostile attribution bias)
    • Lack guilt that would otherwise deter people from crime 
    • More impulsive
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Mental Disorder and Crime
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