Violence and mental illness in a peasant society: Characteristics of violent behaviours and 'folk' use of restraints

J. Westermeyer, J. Kroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Thirty-five people labelled as baa (crazy or insane) were studied in Laos - a country without psychiatrists or psychiatric institutions. Informant information was obtained for violence prior to becoming baa, violence during the course of their baa condition, and violence during the seven days prior to interview. Observation for violence was made for a one day period at the time of the interview. Use of restraints was also assessed. Subjects were significantly more apt to have assaulted others, posed a risk to themselves, and been restrained (although not incarcerated) during their baa condition as compared to their previous state. Those in early stages of their condition (two years or less) manifested more violence than those later in their condition. 'Folk' use of restraints was applied only after dangerous or violent behaviour had occurred. Restraints were released as soon as practicable, but there was an 'ascending' use of certain restraint measures if violence persisted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-541
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Volume133
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1978

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