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Original Article
Criminal behavior among homeless individuals with severe mental illness
Conducta delictiva en las personas sin hogar con trastorno mental grave
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Rafael Fernández García-Andradea,b,c,d,e,
Corresponding author
, Beatriz Serván Rendón-Lunab, Elena Medina Téllez de Menesesa,f, Virginia Vidal Martínezg,h, María Fe Bravo Ortizf, Blanca Reneses Prietob,c,d
a Programa de Atención Psiquiátrica a Enfermos Mentales Sin Hogar, Madrid, Spain
b Instituto de Psiquiatría y Salud Mental, Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Madrid, Spain
c Departamento de Psiquiatría, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
d Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria San Carlos (IdISSC), Madrid, Spain
e Centro Penitenciario de Segovia, Torredondo, Spain
f Servicio de Psiquiatría del Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid, Spain
g Servicio de Psiquiatría, Hospital Universitario de Móstoles, Móstoles, Madrid, Spain
h Centro Penitenciario Madrid VII, Estremera, Spain
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Tables (2)
Table 1. Differences between patients with and without a criminal record for socio-demographic and clinical variables.
Table 2. Significant differences between patients with “minor offences” and “serious crimes”.
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Abstract
Introduction

Several US studies have investigated the criminal behaviour among homeless individuals with severe mental illness. But to date, no studies have been carried out in Spain.

Method

A retrospective observational study was conducted on a sample of 118 patients selected from a psychiatric care programme for homeless individuals with severe mental illness. Factors associated with criminal behaviour were analysed by comparing 2 groups, with and without criminal records.

Results

Of the total sample studied, 24.6% had a criminal record, and 58.6% of them had entered prison. Significant differences between groups were found for the variables of gender, pending sentences, duration of homelessness, multiple substance use, disease awareness, and severity of psychotic symptoms.

Conclusions

In the population of homeless individuals with severe mental illness, regardless of gender, the co-existence of comorbidity with multiple substance use, and a prolonged duration of homelessness, is the most important risk factor for criminal behaviour.

Keywords:
Criminal behaviour
Homeless individuals
Homelessness
Severe mental illness
Resumen
Introducción

Varios estudios estadounidenses han investigado la conducta delictiva en las personas sin hogar con trastorno mental grave. Pero hasta la fecha ninguno se ha realizado en España.

Metodología

Estudio observacional retrospectivo, en una muestra de 118 pacientes, seleccionados de un programa de atención psiquiátrica para personas sin hogar con trastorno mental grave. Se analizaron los factores asociados a la conducta delictiva mediante la comparación de 2 grupos, con y sin antecedentes penales.

Resultados

El 24,6% de la muestra tenía algún antecedente penal y el 58,6% de este grupo había ingresado en prisión. Se encontraron diferencias significativas entre ambos grupos para las variables: sexo, condenas pendientes, duración del sinhogarismo, comorbilidad con politoxicomanía, conciencia de enfermedad y gravedad de los síntomas psicóticos.

Conclusiones

En la población de personas sin hogar con trastorno mental grave, con independencia del sexo, la coexistencia de comorbilidad con politoxicomanía y una duración prolongada del sinhogarismo, constituyen el factor de riesgo más importante para la conducta delictiva.

Palabras clave:
Conducta delictiva
Personas sin hogar
Sinhogarismo
Trastorno mental grave

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