Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Depression Underreported among Murder Victims

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(AP) – A recent study by the American Psychiatry Institute indicates that murder victims might be suffering from depression much more commonly that previously thought. The report, published last week in Psychology Today, is based on analysis of interviews with 621 murder victims. Researchers conducted the interviews between June and December of last year, posing questions related to the subjects’ habits, emotions, attitudes and general behavior.

The study authors noted that the subjects displayed many of the classic symptoms of depression: no appetite; difficulty making decisions; listlessness; and difficulty remembering details, among others. In particular, the subjects’ unwillingness to engage the researchers in conversation made the interviews a challenge, but highlighted the apparent need for more data on this growing demographic. The study did yield enough usable information, according to the lead author, Vladdra Cula, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Zombia State University.

“This study goes a long way towards explaining many aspects of murder victims’ behavior,” said Cula. “For years, clinicians have had what amounts to no guidance when it comes to this cohort of unfortunate sufferers.” He noted that historically, mental health professionals have not made treatment of murder victims a priority, partly because the latter rarely, if ever, seek psychiatric intervention, preferring to suffer in silence.

The study contained a number of surprises, according to the Psychology Today article. For example, it turns out that no significant differences emerged between the responses of those murdered in terrorist attacks and those murdered during the course of armed robbery; neither did either group show real differences from those murdered as a result of domestic violence. The authors of the study had expected to find that the diverse circumstances surrounding the different types of murders would lend themselves to more variegated psychological profiles.

Another unexpected outcome of the study involves the notable absence of drug or alcohol addiction or abuse among the participants. That datum represents a significant departure from other demographics, in which drug abuse or addiction commonly occurs among those affected by depression.

“These surprising findings raise questions as to the quality of treatment murder victims can expect in any clinical setting,” said Mel Ancholy, director of the not-for-profit Council On Research in Psychological Endeavors, a think-tank. “It might serve to explain why murder victims do not seek professional treatment – who wants to bother if the mental health workers are misinformed regarding everything about you?”

The authors acknowledge that the sample size might not adequately reflect the larger picture among murder victims. Logistical and financial hurdles precluded gaining access to people murdered in the Holocaust, for example; reaching any of them required traveling to Eastern Europe and tracking down people whose last traces were obliterated in crematoria and mass graves during the 1940’s. Similar obstacles prevented the researchers from interviewing those who perished in the post-WWI Armenian Genocide and the 1994 massacres of Tutsi Rwandans by the neighboring Hutu, as well as Bosnian Muslims in places such as Srebrenice.

Ancholy hopes to see further research into this sector of the population, but acknowledges that funding for such studies will be hard to come by. “It’s the sad reality that grant makers don’t like research of this nature,” he lamented. “Proposals for more studies of this kind are basically D.O.A.”

Written by Thag

February 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm

9 Responses

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  1. You know you should be writing for The Onion, right?


    February 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm

  2. This is funny and sad at the same time because there are actual scientific studies and surveys that are a lot more inane than this.

    Why, I myself tried to raise funds for a study on the South American sect that worships the left hind leg of the salamander. My detractors told me I should grow a new brain. Go figure.


    February 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm

  3. How funny. I’m doing a visual. Love this post!

    Jumping in Mud Puddles

    February 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm

  4. Correction:
    The nonprofit organization is called “Council On Research in Psychological and Social Endeavors”.


    February 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    • They decided to go with the PS in PSychological, apparently. What do you expect? It’s a dead issue as far as I’m concerned.


      February 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm

  5. I saw a similar study but the sample group was meatballs.


    February 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    • Seriously? Could you send me a link?


      February 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      • only for the study on hot dogs


        February 21, 2012 at 1:54 am

        • he didn’t believe me when i told him his reply was appropriate for hot dogs, but not meatballs.


          February 21, 2012 at 8:11 am

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