Clinical, Social, and Neuropsychological Dimensions of the Intersection of Addiction and Criminality [2018]

To examine the social cognitive processes underlying the relationship of addiction and criminality, we administered the Addiction Severity Index-CF (ASI-CF) and the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) to 35 participants (11 women) who had been released recently from jail or prison. ASI-CF revealed highest lifetime drug use for alcohol, followed by cannabis, cocaine, and heroin, with an average of 42 lifetime arrests in this ex-offender sample. The men and the women showed similar psychiatric histories marked by depression and anxiety, but the women had more lifetime problems with thinking than did the men, who had higher lifetime problems with hallucinations. On the IGT, participants showed evidence of reward-learning across the initial three blocks of 20 trials, but their performance declined over the last 40 trials, suggesting a failure to sustain gains: that is, to learn from feedback in deciding among advantageous and disadvantageous decks of cards. These deficits in motivated decision-making were moderated by current social and psychological factors, as assessed by ASI-CF. These results are discussed in regard to how disturbances in social cognitive processes may underlie the relationship of addiction and criminality.

Paul G. Nestor, Ashley Woodhull, Dominick Newell, Keira O’Donovan, Mayte Forte, Sean Harding and Marc Pomplun
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, June 2018, 46 (2)