Hostname: page-component-5db6c4db9b-bhjbq Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-25T17:01:44.323Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Homicide rates and income inequality

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Michael Moutoussis*
30 Melrose Avenue, Potters Bar, Herts EN6 1TA, UK. Email:
Rights & Permissions[Opens in a new window]


Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2011 

There is evidence that psychosocial factors other than those discussed by Swinson et al Reference Swinson, Flynn, While, Roscoe, Kapur and Appleby1 affect homicide rates and it is important to know whether these disproportionately affect individuals diagnosed as mentally ill. Specifically, there is evidence that income inequality strongly influences rates of violent crime, including homicide. Reference Wilkinson2 Wilkinson & Pickett have claimed that changes in inequality also influence rates of substance misuse. Reference Wilkinson and Picket3 It is thus important to know whether the increase in homicide rates described by Swinson et al could be caused by those with psychiatric problems being ‘left further behind’ in terms of income and/or social status.


1 Swinson, N, Flynn, SM, While, D, Roscoe, A, Kapur, N, Appleby, L, et al. Trends in rates of mental illness in homicide perpetrators. Br J Psychiatry 2011; 198: 485–9.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
2 Wilkinson, R. Why is violence more common where inequality is greater? Ann NY Acad Sci 2004; 1036: 112.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
3 Wilkinson, R, Picket, K. The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone. Penguin, 2010.Google Scholar
Submit a response


No eLetters have been published for this article.