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J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1990 Spring;2(2):189-92.

Subtyping aggression in children and adolescents.

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  • 1Medical College of Pennsylvania, Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Philadelphia.


To document the existence of "predatory" (goal-oriented, planned, hidden, or controlled) and "affective" (impulsive, unplanned, overt, or uncontrolled) subtypes of aggression, this study assessed 73 aggressive child and adolescent psychiatric patients for the presence of theoretically predatory and affective behaviors. Cluster analysis, using the reliable items, confirmed the predicted partition, yielding a "predatory" and an "affective" cluster. The scale, with a total score from +5 (fully predatory) to -5 (fully affective), had good internal consistency (alpha = .73). The score distribution tended to be bimodal, with peaks at -3 (predominantly affective) and 1 (mixed). Patients with "affective" aggression were more likely to have lower IQ, to receive neuroleptics or lithium, and to have a chart diagnosis of schizophrenia. History of drug abuse was more frequent among the "predatory" patients.

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