Determinants of Impulsive Behavior: Toward an Integration of Social and Psychological Factors

  • Norman E. Zinberg


This paper will be concerned not so much with the clinical aspects of extreme and serious destructive acts, but with a group of “middle-range” behaviors commonly referred to as impulse disorders. Rather than focusing on those individuals in jails or mental hospitals who might be overwhelmingly violent, the group I will be concerned with comprises those persons who may be sufficiently concerned about their behavior to become outpatients, as well as those who do not become patients at all. This group does not have the terrifyingly disturbed childhoods described in many cases; they have not been badly abused, or beaten, or sexually assaulted, and so forth. But they comprise a population often labeled “impulse disorder” because of a sexual preoccupation, drug use, or any one of a number of socially disapproved practices. Often a variety of pejorative words, such as “psychopath” and “sociopath,” are too loosely used to describe these individuals, with the implication that their ego control mechanisms are weak.


Drug User Social Learning Disturbed Childhood Psychological Determinant Chocolate Cake 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman E. Zinberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Washingtonian Center for AddictionsBostonUSA

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