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Minerva Pediatrica 2006 April;58(2):121-9


language: English

Predictive signs and indicators of aggressiveness and violence: a comparison between a group of adolescents attending an external penal area, a group of prisoners and a group of patients with borderline personality disorder

La Grutta S. 1, Lo Baido R. 2, Castelli M. 1, Marrazzo G. 2, Schiera G. 1, Gentile M. C. 3, Sarno L. 4, Roccella M. 1

1 Department of Psychology University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy 2 School of Psychiatry University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy 3 H Group, Administration Service Center Palermo, Italy 4 Unit of Psychotherapy, Vita Salute University San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy


Aim. Aggressive and violent behaviours in juveniles and young adults have become increasingly widespread. Most such behaviours have 2 common roots: lack of actual motivation and brutality. The most reliable indicators and predictive signs have been linked to structural personality features (e.g. defensive strategies, impulse control). With this cross-sectional study we wanted to determine specific indicators and predictive signs of violent and aggressive behaviours in these population segments.
Methods. We compared the structural personality features of 3 groups: one with 26 male adolescents with conduct disorder (F91.8), one with 29 male patients with borderline personality disorder (F60.31) and one with 34 male prisoners with antisocial personality disorder (F60.2). The test battery included: the “Structu-red clinical interview for DSM-IV axis II disorders” (for the recruitment of adult groups); the “Indicators of aggressive conduct” and the “Profile of mood states” (for the recruitment of the adolescent group); the “Defense mechanisms inventory” (DMI).
Results. The predominant defensive strategies and starting emotional backgrounds differed significantly among the groups. A profile of low emotional response was found to support aggressiveness, while a profile of aggressiveness and violence was associated with clinically significant impulsivity.
Conclusion. Several indicators and clinical predictors of aggressiveness and violence, as well as high-risk-profiles, may be determined using these instruments.

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