The Safe pilot study : a prospective naturalistic study with repeated measures design to test the psychosis – violence link in and after discharge from forensic facilities
The research evidence is very strong for high recidivism rates of violence after discharge from forensic facilities. Big data research has found that a substantial proportion of the forensic population with relapse into violence has a psychosis diagnosis and a criminal record. However, more research on the association between psychotic symptoms and violence may inform and enhance risk assessment, prevention, and treatment. We conducted a prospective naturalistic study with a repeated measures design in a sample of 22 psychotic patients during follow-up after discharge from forensic mental health facilities. We had three aims: to test the predictive validity of three psychotic symptom scales for violence, to analyze main and interaction effects between psychotic symptoms and previous criminal conviction, and to explore the feasibility and potential benefit of the repeated measures design for prospective follow-up research. Interpreted within the limitation of the small sample size, the results were promising for all scales, particularly for adjusted effects without interaction. Two scales remained significant when their interaction with criminal conviction was adjusted. This indicates that risk judgment of psychotic patients with criminal conviction can be improved by adding measurement of fluctuations in psychotic symptoms. The repeated measures design was instrumental in this research.
Keywords: forensic mental health, repeated measures, discharge, psychotic symptoms, criminality, violence