Violent Crime in Asperger Syndrome: The Role of Psychiatric Comorbidity
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Although several studies have suggested an association between violent crime and Asperger syndrome (AS), few have examined the underlying reasons. The aim of this review is to determine to what extent psychiatric factors contribute to offending behavior in this population. Online databases were used to identify relevant articles which were then cross-referenced with keyword searches for “violence,” “crime,” “murder,” “assault,” “rape,” and “sex offenses.” Most of the 17 publications which met the inclusion criteria were single case reports. Of the 37 cases described in these publications, 11 cases (29.7%) cases had a definite psychiatric disorder and 20 cases (54%) had a probable psychiatric disorder at the time of committing the crime. These findings underscore the role of psychiatric disorders in the occurrence of violent crime in persons with Asperger syndrome and highlight the need for their early diagnosis and treatment.
KeywordsCrime Violence Asperger syndrome Autism Comorbidity
The authors acknowledge their gratitude to Cheryl King, Ph.D. and to the NARSAD Foundation.
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