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Psychiatry Res. 2007 Jun 30;151(3):231-42. Epub 2007 Mar 26.

Characterizing aggressive behavior with the Impulsive/Premeditated Aggression Scale among adolescents with conduct disorder.

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Neurobehavioral Research Laboratory and Clinic, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


This study extends the use of the Impulsive/Premeditated Aggression Scale for subtyping aggressive behavior among adolescents with Conduct Disorder. Of the Conduct Disorder symptoms, aggression has the strongest prognostic and treatment implications. While aggression is a complex construct, convergent evidence supports a dichotomy of impulsive and premeditated aggressive subtypes that are qualitatively different from one another in terms of phenomenology and neurobiology. Previous attempts at measuring subtypes of aggression in children and adults are not clearly generalizable to adolescents. Sixty-six adolescents completed a questionnaire for characterizing aggression (Impulsive/Premeditated Aggression Scale), along with standard measures of personality and general functioning. Principal components analysis demonstrated two stable factors of aggression with good internal consistency and construct validity. Compared to the premeditated aggression factor, the impulsive aggression factor was associated with a broader range of personality, thought, emotional, and social problems. As in the adult and child literature, characterization of aggressive behavior into two subtypes appears to be relevant to understanding individual differences among adolescents with Conduct Disorder.

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