Objective: To investigate factors relevant to violence and self-harm in forensic psychiatric inpatients the cross-sectional association between four potential contributory factors; head injury, schizophrenia, drug and alcohol misuse, and self-harm or violence-related outcomes was examined.
Methodology: Data were extracted from an existing dataset of routinely collected data on all patients under the care of Scotland’s Forensic Mental Health Managed Care Network, of whom (n = 432) met inclusion criteria. A Factorial MANOVA and Pearson’s chi-square tests were conducted to assess the relationship between potential contributory factors and self-harm and violence.
Results: Forty-seven individuals had a documented head injury (10.9%). The presence of head injury was significantly associated with inpatient violence and assessed violence risk. Number of historic violent offences was significantly associated with a history of drug misuse and co-morbid alcohol misuse and schizophrenia. Self-harm was significantly associated with drug misuse and a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Conclusion: These findings highlight a significant association between head injury and actual/assessed risk in forensic psychiatry, over and above that of substance misuse and a diagnosis of schizophrenia, emphasising the need for routine assessment of head injury in clinical practice. Further examination of the impact of head injury in forensic psychiatric populations is needed.