Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Lavoie

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Eaton

Advisor Role

Second reader


The tragedy of police-involved fatalities resulting in the death of individuals with serious mental illness has been brought to the forefront by recent high-profile incidents that have galvanized public concern and criticism that law enforcement organizations must improve their response to people in psychiatric crisis. This thesis employed descriptive and hierarchical logistic regression analyses to understand cases of police-involved shooting fatalities in Canada between 2006 and 2015. More precisely, this research focused on determining whether particular variables predicted group membership between victims with and without a history of mental illness. The General Aggression Model (GAM; Allen, Anderson, & Bushman, 2018) was used as a framework to understand how the presence of mental illness could impact police officers’ use of firearms in the course of their duties. Descriptive analyses revealed that police-involved firearms fatalities were on the rise in Canada and have increased faster over time for people with mental illness (PMI) compared to those without a history of mental illness. Hierarchical logistic regression analysis revealed that weapon type, ethnicity, and suicide-related behaviors were significant predictors of PMI being fatality shot by police officers as compared to victims without mental illness (correct classification 74.1%). Implications of the rising number of PMI involved in fatal shooting encounters with police and the unique predictors that underlie these lethal encounters are discussed considering the Behavioral Influence Stairway Model (Vecchi, Van Hasselt & Romano, 2005).

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Criminology Commons