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Root Cause of Violence

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on September 28, 2009

A doctoral dissertation by a Finnish investigator studied the root cause of violence in an effort to better predict future episodes of violent behavior.

Roope Tikkanen, MD, analyzed the risk factors of violent reconvictions of 242 Finnish men who suffered from alcoholism and severe personality disorders. The control group comprised 1,210 Finnish males matched by sex, age and place of birth.

Following a nine-year follow-up period, the risk analyses were conducted based on criminal register (Legal Register Centre) and mortality (Statistics Finland) data.

Risk variables used in the analyses were antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), a combination of ASPD and BPD, childhood adversities, alcohol consumption, age, and the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotype.

In addition to these factors, temperamental dimensions were also assessed using the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ).

The prevalence of repeat or recidivistic acts of violence (32 percent) and mortality (16 percent) was high among the offenders.

Severe personality disorders and childhood adversities increased the risk of recidivism and mortality both among offenders and in comparison to the controls. Offenders with BPD and a history of childhood maltreatment were found to have a particularly poor prognosis.

The MAOA genotype was associated with the effects of alcohol consumption and aging on recidivism. With high-activity MAOA offenders, alcohol consumption and age affected the risk of violent reconvictions – alcohol increasing it and aging decreasing it – while with low-activity MAOA offenders no such link existed.

Temperament dimensions of offenders included high novelty seeking, high harm avoidance, and low reward dependence which correspond to the definition of an explosive personality.

“The risks of violent reconvictions and mortality accumulate in clear subgroups of violent offenders. Diagnosing severe personality disorders, assessing childhood environments and long-term alcohol consumption, and analyzing the MAOA genotype may be tools that can in the future be employed in the prevention of recidivism and mortality and improving the accuracy of risk assessment among offenders,” says Tikkanen.

Source: University of Helsinki

 

APA Reference
Nauert, R. (2009). Root Cause of Violence. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/09/28/root-cause-of-violence/8635.html