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Aggress Behav. 2008 Jan-Feb;34(1):51-60.

The relationship between impulsive verbal aggression and intermittent explosive disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Pritzker School of Medicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is the sole psychiatric diagnostic category for which aggression is a cardinal symptom. IED focuses on physical aggression, but researchers have argued for the inclusion of verbal aggression (VA) (e.g., arguing, threatening) as a part of the IED criteria set. The utility of VA in identifying clinically relevant aggression, however, is unknown. IED participants were compared to individuals without a marked history of physical aggression, but who report frequent (two or more times a week) VA, and non-aggressive personality-disorder individuals on behavioral and self-report measures of aggression, self-report measures of related constructs (e.g., anger, affective lability), and a clinician assessment of psychosocial impairment. Both the IED and VA groups were more aggressive, angry, and clinically impaired than personality-disorder individuals, while the IED and VA groups did not differ from each other on these measures. These results support the clinical importance of frequent VA for future iterations of the IED criteria set.

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