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Current Approaches to the Prediction of Violence

Carl C. Bell, MD
JAMA. 1990;263(2):312. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440020158054.
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This informative little book, which is a part of the Progress in Psychiatry Series, admirably accomplishes the task of the series, which was designed to present "timely new information in specific fields of interest as they are developing."

The introduction gives a comprehensive, well-documented overview of current approaches to the prediction of violence. The multifaceted nature of violence is highlighted. It is emphasized that a reductionistic approach to the prediction of violence is not feasible, as trait (eg, age, gender, neurological competence), state (active mental illness, intoxication), and situational (over-crowding, victim behavior) predictors may all need to be considered for greater prediction accuracy. By limiting predictions to shorter periods and to a specific setting, it is likely that the psychiatrist's ability to predict violence accurately will increase.

Chapter 1 presents a very clear, concise model for assessing a patient's short-term potential for violence. The suggestions on how to evaluate a


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