Interpersonal cognitive problem -solving skills and severity of criminal behavior among homeless mentally disordered criminal offenders

Debra Fern Morrison-Dyke, Fordham University

Abstract

Research over the last twenty years has shown a relationship between interpersonal cognitive problem-solving skills (ICPS) as measured by the Means-Ends Problem-Solving Procedures (MEPS) and behavioral adjustment in a variety of patient populations. This study has attempted to build upon this foundation by using the MEPS to examine the ICPS skills of homeless, mentally disordered, criminal offenders. In addition, recent research has suggested that there is an association between charges of violent crimes and homelessness at the time of the current offense among the mentally ill. This project has attempted to replicate these findings using crime categories developed for the FBI'S Uniform Crime Reports, as well as extend these findings through crime severity indices computed with Sellin-Wolfgang Crime Severity Ratings. Subjects in this study were 76 male defendants detained at a forensic psychiatric facility. A significant relationship between number of days homeless during the month prior to the alleged offense and ICPS 2 skills was found. No significant relationship was found between number of days homeless during the month prior to the alleged offense and charges of violent crimes for this offense, thus, previous research findings were not replicated. Additionally, crime severity ratings for the current alleged offense was not significantly correlated with number of days homeless during the month prior to this offense. A multiple regression analysis exploring whether homelessness, ICPS skills, and charge for the current alleged offense were significant predictors of crime severity was significant, with charge for the current alleged offense being the most powerful predictor of crime severity. Supplementary analyses extending the time period used to operationalize homelessness yielded results indicating that it may be unnecessary to use longer than a one-month time criterion to identify homeless individuals in a significant and meaningful way. Clinical implications of these findings as well as suggestions for future research are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Social psychology|Clinical psychology|Criminology

Recommended Citation

Morrison-Dyke, Debra Fern, "Interpersonal cognitive problem -solving skills and severity of criminal behavior among homeless mentally disordered criminal offenders" (1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9542375.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9542375

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