Objective: Few, if any, US studies have examined rates of criminal behaviors among patients in clinical samples. According to findings from non-US studies, mostly in psychiatric samples, rates of criminal behavior are higher than in the general population. In this study, we examined the prevalence of criminal behaviors in an internal medicine outpatient sample from a resident-provider clinic. Method: In a consecutive sample of internal medicine outpatients, 380 participants were surveyed in October of 2010 regarding 27 criminal offenses as delineated by the crime categorization schema used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Results: In this sample, 22.1% reported at least one criminal charge. The most commonly self- reported criminal charge was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (10.3%), followed by disorderly conduct (7.1%), drug abuse violations (5.8%), simple assault (5.3%), drunkenness (4.5%), and aggravated assault (3.2%). Conclusions: Like previous non-US studies among psychiatric samples, there appears to be a higher prevalence of criminal behavior among outpatients in an internal medicine training clinic than in the general population. These behaviors may be inter-related through alcohol/substance-use disorders.
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