Relationship of Mood Disorders to Violence
Past research on the relationship between mood disorders and violent behavior has been inconsistent, sometimes finding a relationship between the two and sometimes finding no relationship. Any relationship is arguably complex, and this area of research would benefit from attempts to clarify the relationship. This paper addresses this issue of complexity by examining the relationship between specific mood disorder categories and symptoms and six conceptually different indicators of violent behavior. Relationships are analyzed in logistic regression models where demographic and problem drinking variables are included to control variation that may be accounted for by these factors. The study uses a sample of 1140 recently incarcerated male felons. Psychiatric disorder diagnoses are based on the Diagnostic Interview Schedule.
There is evidence of a direct relationship between a lifetime diagnosis of dysthymia and an arrest or incarceration history for robbery as well as with multiple incidents of fighting since age 18. Recurrent depression was significantly associated with a robbery incarceration history. Depression symptoms (regardless of whether a disorder diagnosis was made) were associated with multiple incidents of fighting since age 18. Manic symptoms were inconsistently associated with “expressive” violence and a number of mood disorder/violence models showed no significant relationship between the two.