An empirical analysis of specific syndromes of violent behavior

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One hundred thirty-eight neuropsychiatric outpatients were rated according to relevant behavioral parameters of violence. A cluster analysis based on these ratings yielded five homogenous subgroups. Two groups, which differed only in severity of violence, were defined by a behavioral patternclosely resembling the episodic dyscontrol syndrome. One group was defined by infrequent but very severe violence, one by relatively infrequent violence of lesser severity, and one by no history of violence. These groups were clearly differentiated by a number of variables including neurological and psychiatric diagnoses, verbal aggression parameters, and neurological and psychiatric history variables. A specific etiology for violence, even within relatively homogenous subgroups, was not supported, with results suggestive of multiple determination by biological and psychosocial factors. On the other hand, different patterns of potential etiological factors were identified for different groups, which holds implications for theoretical understanding of violence and for differential diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-361
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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