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Madness as the Foundation of Non-Culpability

Author

Summary, in English

Doctoral dissertation

Abstract



Background

The relation between mental illness and accountability, may at its best be described as unclear. A negative correlation them between was established thousands of years ago, and has since formed a more or less self-evident supposition. This dissertation is an effort to test this construction.



Aims and hypothesis

The overall aim of this thesis is to clarify the relation between mental illness and accountability and to scrutinize which variables may be considered to be of importance and significance when deliberating on someone’s criminal responsibility.



Methods

Initially some central notions were conceptually analysed. The next step consisted of interviews with Swedish forensic psychiatric patients (n=46) and professionals (n=150). Patients were asked to describe their experience of the circumstances leading up to the crime. Professionals were asked to assess 12 psychiatric diagnostic in terms of negative influence on accountability.



Results

Swedish forensic patients (i) point to other circumstances than mental illness as the main cause of their crime and (ii) regardless of main psychiatric diagnosis sued to have been aware of the nature their action, stressing (iii) damaged action control and inability to identify attractive action alternatives. Swedish forensic professionals (i) stated to a large extent that they never before had acknowledge this relationship and (ii) regardless of sex, age, working experience, education and geographical location no significant differences was found in the result of their assessments.



Conclusions

The (i) understanding, (ii) diagnostics and (iii) treatment of persons with dysfunctional behaviour patterns will most certainly benefit from a paradigm shift, in which unconscious consensus and self-evident artefacts are replaced by first person experiences and skilled professional responsiveness.

Publishing year

2015

Language

English

Publication/Series

Lund University Faculty of Medicine Doctoral Dissertation Series

Volume

2015:145

Document type

Dissertation

Publisher

Lund University

Topic

  • Psychiatry

Keywords

  • criminal responsibility
  • psychiatric care
  • psychiatric diagnostics
  • accountability
  • Mental illness

Status

Published

Supervisor

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 1652-8220
  • ISBN: 978-91-7619-225-2

Defence date

16 December 2015

Defence time

13:00

Defence place

Fernströmsalen, Biomedicinskt centrum, Sölvegatan 19, Lund

Opponent

  • Niklas Juth (Bitr Professor)