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Personality disorders and violence


The purpose of this paper is to review the most recent literature on the relationship between personality disorders and violent behavior. It does not aim to address the issue of a possible etiological connection between being early the victim of violent acts and latter developing a PD.

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Recent data suggest that PDs and especially antisocial and borderline are strongly related to the manifestation of violent acts. Substance abuse is another strong factor which could act either independently or additively. Biological factors seem to constitute a risk factor for violent behaviour independently of personality. Although IQ does not seem to relate to violence, some patients may manifest specific cognitive deficits. The ethical and legal questions posed by the above mentioned correlations are difficult to answer and research has not provided enough data on this issue yet.


The most recent data support the relationship between antisocial personality and violence, especially when a substance abuse is also present, although the presence of confounding factors in the diagnostic criteria suggest caution in the interpretation of the literature.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Fountoulakis, K., Leucht, S. & Kaprinis, G. Personality disorders and violence. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S322 (2008).

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