Early psychosis and aggression: Predictors and prevalence of violent behaviour amongst individuals with early onset psychosis


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Studies in the area of psychosis and violence to date suggest that those who suffer from psychosis are at higher risk for perpetration of such aggressive behaviours. In fact, it has been suggested that variables such as substance use and personality may mediate this relationship. Other variables, such as childhood physical abuse, might also be implicated in the etiology. In the current study, a sample of one hundred and eighteen participants with a primary diagnosis of psychosis were interviewed and prevalence rates for aggressive experiences were as follows: history of trouble with the law (45%), history of emotional abuse (9.6%), physical abuse (38.8%), and sexual abuse (60.2%). With regard to perpetration, 69.6% reported verbal or physical aggression (69.6%), and further, 61% reported problems with substances. Logistic regression procedures were used with a number of the variables under study and relationships were evidenced between psychopathy scores, history of abuse, and regular drug use. History of child abuse was related to violence history, with those who were victims of child abuse being more likely to be violent in later life. In addition higher scores on the psychopathy measure were linked with violence history. This study was a first step towards identifying persons suffering from a mental illness who may be at risk for violence by identifying who, among first episode clients, may be more likely to perpetrate violent behaviours. Targeted interventions and strategies may be further refined so that individuals receiving mental health services may be better served.

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