, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 213-224

Clinical and demographic characteristics of 15 patients with repetitively assaultive behavior

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The 15 patients with the highest numbers of assaultive incidents over a one year period in a state mental hospital were identified and information collected regarding a variety of clinical and demographic characteristics. The results showed a group of patients who are relatively young, manifest severe symptomatology that is generally unresponsive to treatment, and have now been hospitalized continuously for greater than four years. The patients experienced the onset of symptoms as teenagers in most cases, showed poor psychosocial adjustment beyond childhood, and had positive family histories for mental illness or alcohol abuse. Patients with psychotic disorders predominated and tended to have positive symptoms rated as severe to very severe on the Global Rating Scale for Psychosis. Patients with nonpsychotic or personality disorders always showed a high frequency of self-injurious behavior in addition to their aggressive behavior toward others. A number of patients had a history of head trauma with EEG abnormalities. This information provides a starting point for subsequent studies examining potential distinctions between this subpopulation of patients and others, the motivation and circumstances of such incidents, and the interaction between the behaviors and their effects on those around them.