A news release by Columbia University Irving Medical Center delved into the most common misconceptions about mass shootings: the element of mental illness.
According to their new report, mental illness plays no major factor in the majority of mass shooting incidents, nor any form of mass murder. The findings aimed to emphasize a popular false notion that many mass shootings are perpetrated by people suffering from a neurological, psychotic, or mood disorder, generating stigmatization.
In the study, released in Psychological Medicine, a research group examined more than 1,300 mass murders across the globe.
Based on their assessment, nearly all mass shootings, or close to 90 percent, had been perpetrated by people with a history of recreational marijuana or alcohol misuse, but no history of serious mental illness.
“These data suggest that other difficulties, such as legal problems, substance and alcohol use, and difficulty coping with life events seem more useful foci for prevention and policy than an emphasis on serious mental illness,” concluded Paul Appelbaum, a co-author of the study, in a press release.