There is a diachronic interest on the evaluation of the risk of violence by mental patients.Difficulties that have been underlined concern the definition of the term dangerousness and the different methods of approaching it. Accurate risk assessments are particularly important for psychiatric patients, with history of violence, in indoor care. The accuracy of predictions can better determine the patients designated as “at risk” for violence and avoid false designations. The aim of this study was to investigate the probability of patients, from several psychiatric units, to become violent after their discharge and over the next three years. We also investigate the predictive validity and accuracy of the HCR-20 in relation to post-discharge outcomes. Two hundred ninety five (295) psychiatric patients, from several psychiatric units, were assessed with the HCR-20, PCL: SV and GAF scales at discharge (using case file data, interviews with the patients and the clinicians of the units, and also information from the collateral informants) and were monitored for violent episodes over the following three years. The study was conducted in two phases: 1st phase: During the last week before discharge. 2nd phase: Every six months, over the following three years. Both the HCR-20 and PCL: SV scales and their subscales are significant predictors of readmission, suicide attempts and violent behavior. The GAF scale had a low positive correlation with the HCR-20 scale. A number of other variables such as duration of hospitalization, previous violent acts, diagnosis, gender, marital status, socioeconomic status, number of previous hospitalizations, were statistically related with failure of re-integration in the community. The results provide a strong evidence base that the HCR-20 is a good predictor of violent behavior in psychiatric patients, following their discharge from psychiatric wards in Greece, and hence can be used by clinicians in routine clinical practice.

Key words: Dangerousness, risk assessment, prediction of violent behavior

S. Martinaki, Ch. Tsopelas, D. Ploumpidis, A. Douzenis, H. Tzavara, P. Skapinakis, V. Mavreas (page 185) - Full article