Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Violence and ASD

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102129-1


Violence is defined as the purposeful and malicious injury of another person (Blackburn 1993). From a behavior analytic perspective, it can present in multiple expressions, be preceded by various antecedents, and be maintained by numerous consequences. Instrumental violence refers to acts that are goal oriented, measured, and dispassionate (Berkowitz 1993). Expressive violence is characterized by impulsivity and mercurial emotions and may be in response to an intolerable level of physical or emotional dysregulation (McGuire 2008).

Historical Background

Violence is not a core feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is not our intent to vilify people with ASD. Indeed, people with disabilities are three times more likely to be victims of nonfatal crimes than people without disabilities. A reported 94% of people with Asperger’s syndrome (AS) have been the victims of bullying (Little 2002). According to a report from the US Department of Justice (Harrell 2015), people with...


Autism Spectrum Disorder Autism Spectrum Disorder Criminal Justice System Mass Murder Communication Challenge 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Medicine, Department of PsychiatryYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.College of Contemporary Liberal Studies, Department of EducationRegis UniversityDenverUSA