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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 229-233

A comparative study of status of family functioning and mental health in male offenders who convicted of premeditated murder and normal individuals in province of Isfahan

1 Department of Psychology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran
2 Expert Judicial Branch of Isfahan Province, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran
3 Department of Psychology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Web Publication2-Sep-2016

Correspondence Address:
Arash Jahanzad
M.A (in General Psychology), Department of Psychology, University of Isfahan, Hezar Jrib St., Isfahan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.189664

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Aim: Considering structural role of family functioning and mental health in shaping the character of children and its importance in the prevention of crime, the study aimed to compare the status of family functioning and mental health in male offenders who convicted of premeditated murder and normal individuals in province of Isfahan in 2012. Methods: This study was causal-comparative. Research statistical population was all male offenders who were sentenced to death and ordinary individuals in Isfahan province. Thus, 313 individuals were selected. Of this number 150 male offenders convicted of premeditated murder in the central prison of Isfahan were randomly selected and 163 cases of teachers were selected by cluster sampling method as the normal group in Isfahan. Family functioning assesses the scale and mental health questionnaire was administered to them, and data from this research using descriptive and inferential statistic t-test for independent groups were analyzed. Results: It was shown that difference was significant between the two groups in dimensions of communication, problem-solving, affective responsiveness, behavior control, and overall performance (P < 0/001) but difference was not significant in dimensions of affective involvement and role playing (P > 0/05). Also, it was shown that there is no significant difference between the two groups in terms of the dimensions of the mental health (P > 0/05). Conclusions: Therefore concluded to check the factors causing crime such as premeditated murder must be looking for interactive and communication behavior patterns of people with others to pursue personality characteristics and individual of people.

Keywords: Family functioning, male offenders, mental health, normal, premeditated murder

How to cite this article:
Jahanzad A, Khalili M, Khazaee R. A comparative study of status of family functioning and mental health in male offenders who convicted of premeditated murder and normal individuals in province of Isfahan. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2016;2:229-33

How to cite this URL:
Jahanzad A, Khalili M, Khazaee R. A comparative study of status of family functioning and mental health in male offenders who convicted of premeditated murder and normal individuals in province of Isfahan. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Jun 1];2:229-33. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2016/2/4/229/189664

  Introduction Top

With regard to the importance of family system as the first society's structure that is based on education and training children and institutional and legal relations between men and women in the form of a legitimate and acceptable standard in which is founded on, importance of preserving such structure with considering the role of moral, psychological, emotional, social and behavior and benchmarking children in an emotional environment is quite apparent.[1] The performance of the family is related to its ability in coordination with the changes, resolving conflicts and conflict, the correlation between the members and success in disciplinary patterns in order to observance of the border between individuals, the implementation of the rules and principles governing the system with the aim of protecting the entire family. In general, the structure-oriented approach believes that the family is psychopathology center and they don't presume people psychological processes as a quite psychological phenomenon but it is overshadowed by external factors such as family relationships that mutually affect the each other.[2]

In terms of performance, families are divided into two categories: Efficient and inefficient. Efficient families solve their problems to varying degrees and in different schedules. In fact, the family is an open system in which members are joined to each other emotionally. Of course, are encouraged to develop their own individual identity. Space in these families is full of love and unconditional acceptance. As a result, they endure conflict and accept requests for help each other willingly. Some of family properties with optimal performance are Open communication interaction, control and inhibition of psychological and mental stress effectively, empathy, leadership, love, and responsibility. The inefficient family has closed position and members are abandoned emotionally and are separated apart. The boundaries between members are hard and even ambiguous. Love is conditional, and family members are not encouraged to develop an individual identity. The family refused to accept the problem and ask for help, and it seems the problems continue or occur in other forms.[3]

On the other hand, mental health means no symptoms according to the medical opinion. Although some believe that mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders. World Health Organization has stressed the positive aspects of mental health and health has considered as “a state of social, psychological and physical well-being” that “is not only the absence of disease or disability.” Concepts of mental health include personal well-being, self-efficacy perception, autonomy, competence, intergenerational belonging and ability to identify intellectual and emotional potential.[4] So that one can recognize his ability, be coordinated with the usual stresses of life and to be procreator and helpful in terms of the job.[5] Important factors that seem to play a major role in the formation of crime is the mental health of human. The important thing in the field of health check is that determine the rules of normal behavior and the other hand deviant behaviors and determine their framework is variable according to time and place. Currently, there is not a unique criterion which has the necessary conditions to describe the mental abnormality (against mental health). When a behavior assumes abnormal that from a statistical point of view is rare or unusual, from a social viewpoint is inappropriate or unwanted and from a subjective viewpoint is painful or the response to it is perverted socially or psychologically and finally, if is not in the context of ideal health.[6]

However, the overall relationship between mental illness and crime is complex, and documents show that all mental illnesses are not associated with the criminal risk increase.[7] In general, there is two-way approach for the investigate the relationship between mental health means the absence of mental disorders and crime. Or we investigate the prevalence of mental disorders and mental health among criminals or we investigate the frequency of crime among mental patient in front. In the first research, the researchers have found that levels of criminal behavior are equal in psychiatric patients and the general population. While the likelihood of committing a crime is higher by psychiatric patients. However, such a conclusion requires a clear sense of crime, so that the robbery and rape is observed in psychiatric patients with more frequency and well as contrary to the results of studies that have been done in America, European researchers have achieved a much lower frequency of serious crimes in the examples of offender psychiatric patients.[6]

In general, results of these studies show that family functioning is associated with the compatibility of individual, social and academic students significantly. Studies have shown that problems in the family functioning are associated with anti-social behavior, aggression and addiction in adolescents.[8]

According to the mental health, schizophrenia, antisocial personality, and bipolar disorder are related to a crime.[9] In an analysis of time of birth have shown that people with mental illness may have more than two violent crimes. This is while the research has shown that more than 70% of children with conduct disorder will have a criminal conviction in adulthood.[10]

  Methods Top

This study is causal-comparative design. Results were analyzed with the use of the t-test for independent groups and Pearson correlation coefficient. Research statistical population was all male offenders who were sentenced to death and ordinary individuals in Isfahan province in 2012. The statistical sample consisted of 150 male offenders in the central prison of Isfahan who were selected randomly and 163 persons of normal individuals in Isfahan province which were selected by cluster sampling method and formed the normal group of research. The research tools were include in:

Family functioning questionnaire

To collect the data was used the primary form of family functioning scale which was prepared by Epstein et al. in 1983 to describe the organizational and structural characteristics. This test is considered the sixth aspects of family functioning which include problem-solving, communication, roles, affective responsiveness, affective involvement, and behavioral control.[11] A high score on this scale is a sign of inefficiency family. This test with the power of separation of clinical and nonclinical family members and with seven subscales has reliability well. The same researchers reported alpha coefficients of the tool for the roles and behavior control 72/0 and for overall performance 92/0, and also they reported alpha coefficient of the questionnaire 87/0–90/0, as well as they reported internal consistency reliability of the six subscales 72/0–83/0 and the overall subscale of the tool 92/0.[12]

General health questionnaire

For data collection was used a questionnaire of 28 questions of general health which was designed by Goldberg and Hiller (1979). This questionnaire has four subscales which include physical symptoms and general health, anxiety, social function, and depression. All items are multiple choice and its scoring is based on the Likert scale. The cutoff point of this questionnaire is 23. Previous studies have reported high validity and reliability of the questionnaire. Goldberg and Williams reported the validity of the questionnaire 0/80 with a clinical interview. Goldberg reported a correlation between this questionnaire with the symptom checklist (90) 0/78. Also, he reported that the sensitivity, specificity, and correlation coefficient between the score of the questionnaire with clinical evaluation respectively 86%, 77%, and 70%.[13]

  Results Top

The responses of 150 male offenders and 163 normal individuals were studied using a family function questionnaire in Isfahan province, and the results were as follows.

As shown in [Table 1] the difference between the average in families of ordinary people and offenders is 0/56 in overall performance that it is significant and negative at the level of <0/01 and with the possibility of 0/99. On the other hand, using the above table results about six dimensions of family functioning of normal individuals and offenders is as follows: The mean scores for normal individuals and offenders in the aspect relationship, according to the mean difference between the two groups at the level of <0/01, that is with probability of 0/99 is significant and negative. In the aspect affective involvement and role with respect to the mean difference between the two groups is at the level of more than 0/05 therefore the null hypothesis is confirmed with probability 0/95, so it is not significant. The average of the two groups in the aspect problem solving, affective responsiveness and control behavior is at the level of <0/01 therefore the difference is significant and positive with probability 0/99.
Table 1: Comparing the performance of the families of criminals and normal people in the city of Isfahan

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The responses of 150 male offenders and 163 normal individuals were studied using general health questionnaire in Isfahan province and the results were as follows.

As shown in [Table 2] the difference between the average in ordinary people and offenders is 0/95 that the null hypothesis is confirmed at the level of more than 0/05 and with probability 0/95. As a result, the difference between the average in the mental health of normal individuals and offenders is not significant. On the other hand, about four dimensions of mental health of normal individuals and offenders and given that the mean difference between the two groups is at the level of more than 0/50, therefore, null hypothesis is confirmed with probability 0/95. So, the mean difference between the two groups in physical health, anxiety, social functioning, and depression is not significant.
Table 2: Comparison of mental health in offenders and normal individuals

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  Conclusions Top

According to the results of the study score mean of overall performance of offenders is higher than normal. However, this difference is negative but given that in this scale the higher score is inefficient performance indicator, so this result indicates that family functioning of offenders of premeditated murder to family functioning of ordinary people is unhealthy and noneffective which is consistent with the results of Habibi et al.,[12] Ghamari,[8] Kadivar et al.[14] and Yuslyany et al.[15] However, among family function dimension only the communication indicates significant and negative difference which this shows weak communication in the families of criminals is more than normal group. Differences were not significant in the aspect affective involvement and role playing, but the problem, but normal group had more inefficient performance in aspects of problem solving, affective responsiveness, and behavioral control which may be considered contrary to the research Yuslyany et al.,[15] Kadivar et al.[14] and Ghamari [8] that don't achieve relationship or significant different between all aspects of family functioning and variables related to studied social pathologies in their research. Ghamari [8] compared the family functioning of addicted and nonaddicted people, Kadivar et al.[14] studied the relationship between family functioning and coping styles with stress.[15] Yuslyany et al.[15] examined the disciplinary favorable relationship with the family functioning.[16] Bershan et al.[12] compared the family functioning of adolescents with internet addiction habit and normal people that only they don't achieve significant difference between the dimensions of role playing and behavior control that this difference can be explained by differences in studied population.[12] That family patterns of offenders and its complexity is more of what appears at first glance however a significant difference in terms of the overall performance with normal group. One of the causes of this complexity is that the families of criminals are criminal who exhibit cooperation, role playing and affective responsiveness well but negative. Thus, we must have an overview in family functioning scale and its differentiation in offender and normal individuals must have an overview. This means that should not necessarily be viewed family function dimension in the form of single.

On the other hand, according to the results of the study found no difference between the score mean of mental health and normal people that this result of the study was not true even about mental health subscales. Although the results of this study is consistent with the results of Dadsetan,[6] Imam Hady,[5] Dadsetan et al.[6] and Fazel et al.[9] Some of these studies have investigated proprietary relationship between psychological disorders and premeditated murder such as research of Dadsetan [16] and Fazel et al.[9] But in this reviews, the important thing is that all of these studies have been based on the relationship between crime and mental disorder and not based on the direct study of mental health and crime. However, the lack of obvious mental illness is one of the most important features of mental health but only as a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition. On the other hand, although premeditated murder is considered as one of the violent crimes but according to interviews with studied offenders it was found that most of the killings were not carried out in the form of planned, but have taken place in a fight, street or family clashes and disputes. Another thing that can be said here is that considering that present study done on male prisoners who convicted of premeditated murder so, this result can be considered due to the prison conditions. Based on the findings of this study, it can be deduced that offenders to premeditated murder are different in terms of the structure of the family functioning but are not differ in terms of mental health. Therefore to investigate contributing factors of serious crimes such as premeditated murder we should follow the behavior patterns of communication and interaction with others rather than personality traits in people.

In collaboration with the social department of provincial court.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Barnes GG. Family therapy over time. Translator Abbasi Delouee, Farideh. Mashhad: Aristotle Publication; 2004.  Back to cited text no. 1
Sexton M, Harris KR, Graham S. Self-regulated strategy development and t writing process: Effects on easy writing and attributions. Except Child 2003;64:295-311.  Back to cited text no. 2
Depaul N. Healthy Family Functioning Relationship Advice and Relationship Tips. Council for Relationships; 2008. p. 382-680.  Back to cited text no. 3
World Health Organization. Noncommunicable Disease and Mental Health. Geneva, Switzerland: Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 4
Hady MA, Jalilvand M, Salehi M. Prevalence of mental disorders in premeditated murder offenders. J Soc Welfare 2006;5:163-53.  Back to cited text no. 5
Dadsetan P. Criminal Psychology. Tehran: The Organization of Study and Compiling of Human Sciences Books of University (SAMT), R and D Center of Human Sciences; 2010. p. 1389.  Back to cited text no. 6
Brennan PA, Mednick SA, Hodgins S. Major mental disorders and criminal violence in a Danish birth cohort. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2000;57:494-500.  Back to cited text no. 7
Ghamari M. Comparison of family function dimension and quality of life and the relationship of these variables among addicts and non-addicts. J Subst Abuse Addict Res 2011;5:67-55.  Back to cited text no. 8
Fazel S, Gulati G, Linsell L, Geddes JR, Grann M. Schizophrenia and violence: Systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Med 2009;6:e1000120.  Back to cited text no. 9
Baker LA, Bezdjian S, Raine A. Behavioral genetics: The Science of antisocial behavior. Law Contemp Probl 2006;69:7-46.  Back to cited text no. 10
Epstein NB, Bishop DS, Levin H. The McMaster model of family functioning. J Marital Fam Ther 2007;4:12-37.  Back to cited text no. 11
Habibi A, Danesh P, Mazandarani MJ. The relationship of family function with internet addiction among girl high school students in Malard. MJSS 2015;6:215.  Back to cited text no. 12
Kajbaf M, Keshavarz A, Nooril A, Lali M, Soltanzadeh M. A comparative study of status of family functioning and mental health in people with pet and pet without pet in city of Isfahan in 2009. J Arak Univ Med Sci 2010;13:83-94.  Back to cited text no. 13
Kadivar P, Islami A, Farahani MN. The relationship between family interaction structure (family functioning) and coping styles with stress and gender differences in high school students. J Psychol Educ 2004;34:97-123.  Back to cited text no. 14
Yuslyany GH, Habibi M, Soleimani A. Relationship between disciplinary desirable behaviour and the family functioning, locus of control and self-esteem in students. J Sch Psychol 2012;2:114-34.  Back to cited text no. 15
Decoster S, Heimer K. The relationship between law violation and depression: An interactions analysis. Criminology 2001;39:799-836.  Back to cited text no. 16


  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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