…researchers assessed each individual’s homelessness, inpatient mental-health treatment, psychological symptoms of mental illness, substance use and as victims or perpetrators of violence. The researchers evaluated all of these items as both indicators and outcomes — i.e., as both causes and effects.

“We found that all of these indicators mattered, but often in different ways,” says Sarah Desmarais, an associate professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of the paper. “For example, drug use was a leading indicator of committing violence, while alcohol use was a leading indicator of being a victim of violence.”

However, the researchers also found that one particular category of psychological symptoms was also closely associated with violence: affective symptoms.

“By affect, we mean symptoms including anxiety, depressive symptoms and poor impulse control,” Desmarais says. “The more pronounced affective symptoms were, the more likely someone was to both commit violence and be a victim of violence…

…on average, the researchers found that one event in which a person was a victim of violence triggered seven other effects, such as psychological symptoms, homelessness and becoming perpetrators of violence. Those seven effects, on average, triggered an additional 39 additional effects.

“It’s a complex series of interactions that spirals over time, exacerbating substance use, mental-health problems and violent behavior,” Van Dorn says. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a protagonist with poor impulse control and high anxiety.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the state of your mental health and how it affects your behavior.

Art Prompt: Mental Illness and Violence

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell  your audience about the complicated relationship between mental illness and violence.

Photo Credit: Alvaro Tapia on Flickr

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