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Review: pharmacological and psychological interventions can reduce violent behaviour outcomes in high-risk populations

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Questtion: Are pharmacological, psychosocial and organisational intervention strategies effective at reducing violence in mental health and criminal justice populations?

Outcomes: Violent behaviour assessed either directly (eg, reconviction for a violent offence) or indirectly through a proxy measure (eg, validated anger measure).


Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: PsycINFO, MEDLINE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Allied and Complementary Medicine Database (AMED), British Nursing Index/Royal College of Nursing, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS), Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)/International ERIC, The Cochrane Library and Web of Science were searched from January 2002 to April 2008.

Study selection and analysis:To be eligible for inclusion studies had to (1) evaluate an intervention aimed at reducing violence against other people; (2) include participants aged 17 years or above who either had a mental disorder, were offenders or had committed indictable offences; and(3) report an outcome of interest. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) reporting data that could be converted into ORs were included in the meta-analysis. Heterogeneity was assessed using I2 and Q estimates, and publication bias was examined using a funnel …

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  • Sources of funding The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme and the Research for Patient Benefit programme.

  • ▸ References are available online at


  • Competing interests None.