The view that there is a definite association between aggressive and/or destructive behavior and mental instability is widespread within the United States, not only in private beliefs, but in such cultural products as jokes, cartoons, and television programs (Link, 1987; Scheff, 1966). Indeed, in recent years, we have seen our politicians attribute acts of aggression and hostility committed by other nations to the mental instability of their leaders, and argue that the need to remove such persons from power (or at least contain their activities to within their own borders) represents sufficient justification for military intervention. In light of such pervasive presentations of what a “mentally ill” person might do or be, it is not surprising that for many people the term conjures up images of an unpredictable, volatile, and potentially dangerous person (Link & Cullen, 1986; Link, Cullen, Frank & Wozniak, 1987).


American Psychiatric Association Psychiatric Illness Suicide Rate Psychiatric Patient Violent Behavior 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shirley A. Smoyak
    • 1
  • D. M. Gorman
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging ResearchRutgers University, The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Center of Alcohol StudiesRutgers University, The State University of New JerseyPiscatawayUSA

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