There is substantial evidence that individuals with schizophrenia are at increased risk for violent criminal behavior and an even higher risk for committing murder, relative to the general population. Neuropsychological features of seven schizophrenic men who murdered family members were compared to neuropsychological features of seven schizophrenic men with no history of violence, criminal offenses or antisocial behavior. The two groups were matched for age, education, race, gender, handedness, and diagnosis, and had similar psychotic symptom profiles and substance abuse histories. The schizophrenic murderers demonstrated significantly worse neuropsychological impairment, involving executive dysfunction and memory dysfunction, relative to nonviolent schizophrenic men. Implications include: (1) specific neuropsychological deficits may increase the likelihood of some schizophrenic men to murder family members due to an impaired capacity to inhibit impulsive violent aggression; (2) neuropsychological status of schizophrenic defendants who commit domestic homicide should be considered by the trier-of-fact when they are tried for murder.
- Neuropsychological testing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science