Our research team focuses on understanding why some people with mental disorder become involved in self-harm, violence, and/or criminal behavior. To develop more effective prevention and treatment strategies for this group, we must first understand how individual and environmental factors interact to increase their risk of such harmful behavior. This understanding can also be used inform legal decision-making about this high risk, high need group.
We address specific questions such as: How can we innovatively and efficiently identify psychiatric patients who are likely to hurt themselves or others in the near future? Why are individuals with serious mental illness over-represented in the criminal justice system and “what works” to help them safely re-enter the community? What is psychopathy and how can treatment reduce risk of violence for psychopathic offenders who have disturbed rather than deficient emotions? How can we prevent high risk youth from becoming adult offenders? To address these questions, we use multi-method, interdisciplinary, longitudinal study designs.
Together with our collaborators and community partners, we are working to generate high quality research that can be used to inform policy and promote positive outcomes among high risk individuals with mental illness.