Neurocognitive functioning among people accessing an addiction neuropsychology clinic with and without a history of offending behaviour

Ashlee Curtis, James R. Gooden, Catherine A. Cox, Travis Harries, Vanessa Peterson, Peter G. Enticott, Paul G. Sanfilippo, Peter G. Miller, Dan I. Lubman, Victoria Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Effectiveness of interventions for violent behaviour may be undermined by the presence of neurocognitive impairment, which is known to be common among alcohol and other drug (AOD) users and violent offenders. The current study aimed to examine whether the cognitive functioning of individuals with AOD histories presenting to a specialist addiction neuropsychology service differed according to their offending history (i.e. non-offending, non-violent offending and violent offending), using a retrospective case file audit design. Data were extracted from 190 clients. Tests assessed a breadth of cognitive domains. Violent offenders demonstrated the lowest premorbid IQ out of the three groups, and a significantly higher proportion of violent offenders presented with impaired divided attention and impaired cognitive inhibition compared to non-violent offenders. Rates of impairment across groups were well beyond those expected within the general population. Delivery of both AOD and violence interventions should be adapted to accommodate individuals’ cognitive difficulties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854–866
Number of pages13
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • alcohol and drug use
  • cognitive functioning
  • cognitive impairment
  • intervention
  • neurocognitive impairment
  • neuropsychology
  • offender
  • rehabilitation
  • treatment
  • violence

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