Crazy, Mad, Insane, or Mentally Ill?

  • Lia AhonenEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Criminology book series (BRIEFSCRIMINOL)


This chapter discusses the fundamentals of mental illness and violence. There is a substantial difference between medical and scientifically based definitions of mental illness and violence when compared with the words and phrases commonly used in broadcast media and other non-scientific outlets. Unfortunately, the use of loosely defined terms such as crazy, mad, and mentally ill can have a substantial stigmatizing effect when used to describe perpetrators of violence, often inhibiting individuals who actually suffer from mental health problems from voluntarily seeking out help and care. Although there is some evidence to suggest that this form of stigmatization is the result of the need to identify scapegoats as a way to explain violence, social interaction theory can also provide alternative explanations of the common general fear of mentally ill. More specifically, Collins theory of social interaction rituals is used to explain how interactions can work during and after an event such as a mass shooting.


Crazy Mentally ill Definitions Stigmatization Interaction ritual Violence Mass shooting 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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