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Alcohol and drug problems among Australian homicide offenders

Eriksson, L; Bryant, S; McPhedran, S; Mazerolle, P; Wortley, R; (2021) Alcohol and drug problems among Australian homicide offenders. Addiction , 116 (3) pp. 618-631. 10.1111/add.15169. Green open access

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Abstract

Background and Aims: Most homicide studies focus upon ‘acute’ situational intoxication as opposed to ‘chronic’ substance misuse. The aims of the study were to: (1) determine the extent of homicide offenders’ alcohol and drug use in the year preceding the homicide; (2) compare the individual characteristics of homicide offenders across levels of problematic substance use; and (3) compare homicide incident characteristics across levels of problematic substance use. / Design and Setting: Observational study using data collected through face‐to‐face interviews in custodial and community correctional settings across Australia. Participants were recruited through an opt‐in process. / Participants: The data consist of 302 individuals convicted of murder or manslaughter. / Measurements: We used the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test and Drug Abuse Screening Test to determine problematic alcohol or drug use. We also used a range of self‐report measures to ascertain offender characteristics [socio‐demographics, developmental experiences, criminal history, personality] and incident characteristics (who was killed, and situational intoxication). / Findings: Of the sample, 38.8% displayed high levels of alcohol problems and 30.8% displayed high levels of drug problems. Those displaying high levels of alcohol and/or drug problems were more likely than those without high levels of alcohol and/or drug problems to report adverse developmental experiences, low education, financial difficulties, extensive criminal histories and high levels of trait anger, impulsivity and risk‐seeking. In addition, offenders with problematic substance use were more likely to have killed non‐family and to have used substances at the time of the homicide. / Conclusions: High proportions of homicide offenders in Australia appear to have problematic substance use in the year preceding the homicide offence, and such use appears to be associated with a range of other challenging factors, including adverse childhoods, criminal involvement, low socio‐economic factors and low self‐regulation.

Type: Article
Title: Alcohol and drug problems among Australian homicide offenders
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/add.15169
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/add.15169
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101995
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