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Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2010 Sep-Oct;38(5):249-61. Epub 2010 Sep 1.

Violence and personality disorders: clinical and forensic implications.

[Article in English, Spanish]

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  • 1Juzgado de Instruccion (Instruction Courts) of Madrid, España.


Several studies have provided strong evidence that personality disorders (PD) represent a significant clinical risk for violence. This review has aimed to examine the relationship of greater risk for violence among persons with certain PD in terms of four fundamental personality dimensions: 1) impulse control; 2) affect regulation; 3) threatened egotism or narcissism; and 4) paranoid cognitive personality style. Two of these dimensions -impulse control and affect regulation- are probably substantially affected by virtually all PDs linked to violence. Narcissism or threatened egotism and paranoid cognitive personality style have also been empirically linked to violence and mental disorder. PD symptoms have proven to be even stronger predictors of violence than the PDs per se. In fact, increased symptoms of DSM-IV cluster A or cluster B PD, such as paranoid, narcissistic and antisocial PD symptoms, correlate significantly with violence. Finally, there are three important principles about the relationship between PDs and violence: 1) PDs are rarely egosyntonic; 2) most patients and violent situations that come to clinical attention involve comorbid conditions; and 3) violence and risk of violence are often associated with substance abuse. Implications of this review for further research are discussed.

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