Differences in Neuropsychological Functioning Between Homicidal and Nonviolent Schizophrenia Samples – 2018

Few studies have compared performance on neurocognitive measures between violent and nonviolent schizophrenia samples. A better understanding of neurocognitive dysfunction in violent individuals with schizophrenia could increase the efficacy of violence reduction strategies and aid in risk assessment and adjudication processes. This study aimed to compare neuropsychological performance between 25 homicide offenders with schizophrenia and 25 nonviolent schizophrenia controls. The groups were matched for age, race, sex, and handedness. Independent t-tests and Mann–Whitney U-tests were used to compare the schizophrenia groups’ performance on measures of cognition, including composite scores assessing domain level functioning and individual neuropsychological tests. Results indicated the violent schizophrenia group performed worse on measures of memory and executive functioning, and the Intellectual Functioning composite score, when compared to the nonviolent schizophrenia sample. These findings replicate previous research documenting neuropsychological deficits specific to violent individuals with schizophrenia and support research implicating fronto-limbic dysfunction among violent offenders with schizophrenia.

John Stratton Ph.D., Derin J. Cobia Ph.D., James Reilly Ph.D., Michael Brook Ph.D., Robert E. Hanlon Ph.D.
Journal of Forensic Sciences, 7 February 2018
DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.13750