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Author(s) Knoll, James L.
Meloy, John Reid
Year 2014
Title Mass Murder and the Violent Paranoid Spectrum
Published in Psychiatric Annals, Vol. 44, No. 5
Pages 236–243
DOI 10.3928/00485713-20140502-07
Link [1]
Abstract Mass murderers who capture media attention often appear to be suffering from psychosis. However, no research has

clearly established that most are psychotic or even suffering from a serious mental illness (SMI). In contrast, individual case studies examining the psychological makeup of mass murderers often reveal paranoid themes in their cognitions. For example, many have been found to be preoccupied with feelings of social persecution and revenge against their perceived tormentors. In addition, they share an inability to accept their apparent circumstances and choose to obliterate reality with an act of violent revenge.

In this article, it is suggested that the psychology of paranoid mass murderers can be understood as existing on a continuum of paranoia ranging from mistrust to frank paranoid delusions. This can be demonstrated by careful forensic psycholinguistic analysis of the communications they frequently leave behind. Finally, this article seeks to outline a psychoanalytically informed cognitive progression seen in paranoid spectrum mass murderers in the hopes of delineating stages for earlier recognition and possible intervention.

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