Gang Members Found to Suffer Unprecedented Levels of Psychiatric Illness
Violent ruminative thinking, violent victimisation and fear of further victimisation were significantly higher in gang members and believed to account for high levels of psychosis and anxiety disorder in gang members.
The findings showed that, of the 108 gang members surveyed:
85.8 per cent had an antisocial personality disorder;
Two-thirds were alcohol dependent;
25.1 per cent screened positive for psychosis;
More than half (57.4 per cent) were drug dependent;
Around a third (34.2 per cent) had attempted suicide; and
More than half (58.9 per cent) had an anxiety disorder.
Professor Jeremy Coid, Director of Forensic Psychiatry Research Unit at Queen Mary, and lead author of the paper said: “No research has previously investigated whether gang violence is related to psychiatric illness, other than substance misuse, or if it places a burden on mental health services.
“Here we have shown unprecedented levels among this group, identifying a complex public health problem at the intersection of violence, substance misuse, and mental health problems among young men.