Implications for the prevention of aggressive behavior within psychiatric hospitals drawn from interpersonal communication theory

Michael David Daffern, Andrew Day, Amy Cookson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Although interpersonal style is a defining feature of personality and personality disorder and is commonly identified as an important influence on aggressive behavior, treatment completion, and the development of an effective therapeutic alliance, it is rarely considered in practice guidelines for preventing, engaging, and managing patients at risk of aggression. In this article, the authors consider three potential applications of interpersonal theory to the care and management of patients at risk of aggression during hospitalization: (a) preventing aggression through theoretically grounded limit setting and de-escalation techniques, (b) developing and using interventions to alter problematic interpersonal styles, and (c) understanding therapeutic ruptures and difficulties establishing a therapeutic alliance. Interpersonal theory is proposed to offer a unifying framework that may assist development of intervention and management strategies that can help to reduce the occurrence of aggression in institutional settings
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401 - 419
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this