J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2021 Apr;25(1):23-29. 10.47825/jkgp.2021.25.1.23.

A Study of Criminal Manifestation and Characteristics of Elderly Mental Illness

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, National Forensic Hospital, Ministry of Justice, Gongju, Korea


As the population of the elderly increases, the prevalence of dementia and other mental diseases of the elderly is also increasing. Dementia is a typical elderly mental illness. Some people with dementia may cause a crime due to symptoms of mental behavior. The purpose of this study is to examine the characteristics of criminal behavior of various elderly mental patients.
From January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2019, the court selected 65 years of age or older from among the criminal psychiatric appraisal cases commissioned by the court. A total of 205 medical records and mental assessments were reviewed retrospectively. All records were prepared through psychiatric interviews, clinical psychological examinations, and other examinations, and the information compiled was viewed in several aspects, including demographic factors, crime characteristics, and psychiatric opinions, at the level of technical analysis.
There was a statistically significant difference in the judgment of criminal liability according to the degree of cogni-tive impairment (p<0.001) in the elderly mentally ill, and a significant difference in criminal behavior depending on the type of mental illness (p<0.001).
Not only dementia but also other elderly mental illnesses are related to violent crime. In particular, paranoid symptoms and alcohol abuse in older adults’ mental illness are related to the type of criminal behavior. In an aging society, appropriate therapeutic intervention is needed to prevent criminal behavior of the elderly mentally ill.


Aged; Dementia; Cognitive dysfunction; Alcoholism; Delusional disorder; Violence; Crime
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