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New ways to predict violent behavior?
Date:9/25/2009

In the future, diagnosing severe personality disorders, evaluating the childhood environment, assessing alcohol consumption and the analysis of the MAOA genotype may provide more accurate means for assessing risk among violent offenders, according to the Finnish research carried out jointly at the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Central Hospital Psychiatry Centre.

"The many negative effects of violence could be alleviated by improving the accuracy of predicting violent behaviour. Lack of knowledge about the root causes of violence is, however, an impediment for such predictions," says Roope Tikkanen, MD, who has published his doctoral dissertation on the subject.

Tikkanen analysed the risk factors of violent reconvictions and mortality, using research data collated by Professor Matti Virkkunen based on court-ordered mental status examinations carried out in Finland during 1990-1998. The majority of the 242 men participating in the study 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), the comorbidity of ASPD and BPD, childhood adversities, alcohol consumption, age, and the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotype. In addition to these factors, the temperament dimensions were also assessed using the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ).

The prevalence of recidivistic acts of violence (32%) and mortality (16%) 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 his
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Contact: Roope Tikkanen
roope.tikkanen@helsinki.fi
358-405-155-869
University of Helsinki
Source:Eurekalert

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