Prevalence of mental disorders among sexual offenders in forensic psychiatry and prison

Silke Harsch, Julia Emma Bergk, Tilman Steinert, Ferdinand Keller, Ulrich Jockusch
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 2006, 29 (5): 443-9
The objective of this study was to compare the prevalence of mental disorders among sexual offenders in forensic psychiatry (SF) with the prevalence of such disorders among sexual offenders in prison (SP) and violent offenders in prison (VP). In a cross-sectional study, 40 of 47 SF detained in forensic psychiatry in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, could be included. They were compared with 30 SP and 26 VP. All study participants were interviewed by means of SCID I and SCID II and assessments of functioning (GAF, BSS). There was a high prevalence of mental disorders (DSM-IV: Axis I) in all three groups (SF: 80%, SP: 63%, VP: 73%). Among SP and VP, this was attributed mainly to substance use disorders. The prevalence and comorbidity of personality disorders was significantly higher in the group of the SF (prevalence: SF: 85%, SP: 27%, VP: 39%). In a psychopathological view, SP were all together more similar to the imprisoned non-sexual delinquent VP than to the SF.


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