Abstract: (WITHDRAWN) Violent Convictions Among Probationers/Parolees with Psychiatric Disorders - a Qualitative Examination (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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299P (WITHDRAWN) Violent Convictions Among Probationers/Parolees with Psychiatric Disorders - a Qualitative Examination

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Peter Simonsson, PhD, MSW, LCSW, PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania, PA
Phyllis Solomon, PhD, Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Background and Purpose: The link between violence and psychiatric disorders are a widely held assumption, which can increase stigma for vulnerable persons with psychiatric disorders. While research supports a slightly elevated risk for persons with psychiatric disorders, the relationship is not causal and psychiatric disorders have been found to be distal violence risk factors at best. There is a number of proximal violence risk factors. Static factors, including adverse childhood experiences, violent role modeling during formative years, and juvenile adjudications are associated with violent crime. Dynamic factors, such as mood instability, impulsively, antisocial cognitions, and substance use, and indicated risk predictors. While there is extensive epidemiological research on violence and psychiatric disorders, scientific investigations of the interaction between psychiatric disorders and violence from the perspective of the perpetrator is sparse. The aim of this study was to explore how probationers/parolees diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and prior violence convictions construed their own stories regarding violent behaviors in terms of static and dynamic risk factors.

Methods: Probationers/Parolees were recruited at the probation and parole office in a large east coast metropolitan area. Twenty probationers/parolees were interviewed. We used semi-structured interviews and life-maps. Life-maps were used to: 1) learn about the life-course development of violent behaviors from the participants perspective; and 2) capture and determine static and dynamic factors across the participants lifespan. Data were analyzed iteratively and deductively with a thematic approach using Dedoose software.

Results: First, probationers/parolees identified violent and abusive caregivers and antisocial peer networks during adolescence as contributing static factors. Second, substance use, "difficult" emotions, social expectations, and poor anger-management skills were frequently mentioned as dynamic risk factors. Finally, themes emerged about the role of social interactions and relationships as related to violence, where family members were most frequently cited as victims.

Conclusion and Implications: The first-person narratives offers complimentary perspectives on violence among persons with psychiatric disorders in the criminal justice system, who are at high recidivism risk. This information may be useful for identifying probationers/parolees at-risk for violence and for designing future policies and programs to prevent violence further upstream. Findings may also prove useful in generating new research directions on violence among persons with psychiatric disorders. Given that social workers are often the primary providers for this population, they are likely the key beneficiaries. Therefore, the research requires a social work perspective that includes a social justice value, which is often omitted from research on people convicted for violent crimes.