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Violent Men: The Importance of Impulsivity and Cognitive Schema

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 32 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2005 Pages: 26-49
James A. Seager
Curt R. Bartol
Date Published
February 2005
This study examined individual inmate differences in cognition and personality that have been implicated in the unfolding of violent conflict or violent behavior which is critical to assessment and treatment.
Canadian corrections officials have been increasingly concerned with the release of persistently violent inmates. Past research has indicated that violent behavior is the end result of active cognitive processing. Over the years, several models of the cognitive processes involved in aggression have been put forth. For example, models explaining aggression by persistently violent men, impulsivity, and self-schemas for a hostile social environment are of particular importance. In this study, 50 male offenders were tested at a medium-security Federal Canadian prison using a self-report measure of impulsivity called the I Questionnaire. Measures used in the study included violence rating, assault convictions, reported fights, robberies, psychopathy, impulsivity, vignette, and weapon. The study found that impulsivity, vignette, and weapon were consistently good correlates of psychopathy, violence rating, assault convictions, and reported fights. Multiple regression analysis indicated that combinations of impulsivity, vignette, and weapon accounted for substantial amounts of variance in violence rating and psychopathy. In summary, persistently violent males and males with traits of psychopathy impulsively react to attributions that others are threatening them. References