Violence, sensation seeking, and impulsivity in schizophrenics found unfit to stand trial.

S. Z. Kaliski and T. Zabow,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 23(1): 147-55, 1995.
Many studies have confirmed an association between violent behavior, impulsivity, and sensation seeking in nonpsychotic subjects. Schizophrenic patients (n = 49) who had been found unfit to stand trial were investigated for violence, according to index offenses and longitudinal histories (before and after admission) for violence. Those charged with violent offenses were significantly more often married with children, and were equally likely to direct their assaultiveness to strangers, acquaintances, and family members. The nature of the index offense seemed to be a good indicator of general violent propensity. No significant differences were found on Barratt's Impulsivity Scale and Zuckerman's Sensation Seeking Scale, except that schizophrenic patients with negative histories of violence scored higher on the thrill and adventure subscale. No pattern of substance abuse differentiated the groups. Patients charged with violent offenses more often presented with persecutory delusions, but this did not extend to those whose histories were positive for repetitive violence. Although impulsivity and sensation seeking do not seem to cause violent behavior in this group, psychopathology can also only be regarded as a necessary but not sufficient determinant.