Antecedents for aggression and the function analytic approach to the assessment of aggression and violence in personality disordered patients within secure settings

Michael David Daffern, Kevin Howells

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The aim of this paper is to explore the validity and clinical utility of a function analytic approach to the assessment of aggression and violence in patients with personality disorder. This paper begins with a review of the factors that are associated with aggression in personality disordered patients, and focuses in particular upon those patients whose aggressive and violent behaviour has been the reason for their admission to a secure facility, and who may continue to engage in aggression. Two approaches that may explain such aggression are discussed and evaluated: (1) the identification of personality traits that may influence aggression and (2) the differentiation of hostile and instrumental aggression. Some limitations with these two approaches are identified, and an argument is made for function analytic assessment methods. An overview of one form of functional assessment, the Assessment and Classification of Function method, which assists in the classification of differential forms of aggression, is provided. Finally, the clinical and treatment implications of the function analytic approach are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126 - 137
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Mental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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