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Lancet Psychiatry. 2018 Oct;5(10):836-844. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30062-2. Epub 2018 Feb 26.

Traumatic brain injury: a potential cause of violent crime?

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK. Electronic address:
Offender Health Research Network, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.
Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
Centre for Mental Health, London, UK.
Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.

Erratum in


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the biggest cause of death and disability in children and young people. TBI compromises important neurological functions for self-regulation and social behaviour and increases risk of behavioural disorder and psychiatric morbidity. Crime in young people is a major social issue. So-called early starters often continue for a lifetime. A substantial majority of young offenders are reconvicted soon after release. Multiple factors play a role in crime. We show how TBI is a risk factor for earlier, more violent, offending. TBI is linked to poor engagement in treatment, in-custody infractions, and reconviction. Schemes to assess and manage TBI are under development. These might improve engagement of offenders in forensic psychotherapeutic rehabilitation and reduce crime.

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