Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mental illness = crime and violence

Professor Frank Oberklaid (Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne):

“So many of the conditions we see in adult life like mental health problems, like violence, like participation in crime often have their roots in the early years”.


So what are you saying Paul? That early childhood trauma has no effect on adult personality?
“So many conditions like breast cancer, drunk driving, and white-collar fraud often have their roots in XYZ”. Spot the odd one out? One is an illness, while the other two are voluntary behaviours. Including an illness in a small, cohesive list of negative behaviours necessarily stigmatises the illness. This stigmatising is made worse by a widely-held, but empirically inaccurate view, that persons with mental illness are more violent than the general population.

List-slippage also makes for lazy science by supposed experts. Adult violence and other criminality have a strong correlation with low socio-economic status in early childhood. Adult mental illness has only a weak such correlation (or with any other early childhood factor, as far as I am aware), but a stronger correlation with trauma in later (5 to 15 y.o.) childhood.

But I don’t blame Professor Oberklaid personally for any of this, of course. I’m sure it is all caused by (his) defective toilet training. As is global warming, and the congestion on Melbourne trains.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?