Data from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area survey were used to examine the relationship between violence and psychiatric disorders among adults living in the community. Psychiatric assessment of survey respondents was based on the Diagnostic Interview Schedule, which also provided self-report information about violent behavior. Those who reported violent behavior within the preceding year tended to be young, male, and of low socioeconomic status, and more than half met DSM-III criteria for one or more psychiatric disorders. Subjects with alcohol or drug use disorders were more than twice as likely as those with schizophrenia to report violent behavior. In a multivariate model of the predictors of violence, a significant interaction effect was found between major mental illness and substance abuse. The risk of violent behavior increased with the number of psychiatric diagnoses for which respondents met DSM-III criteria.