Impulsivity in early psychosis: A complex link with violent behaviour and a target for intervention – 2018

Violent behaviour (VB) occurs in first episode of schizophrenia and can have devastating impact both on victims and patients themselves. A better knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of VB may pave the way to preventive treatments.

1) To explore the nature of the link between impulsivity and VB in early psychosis (EP) patients; 2) To explore the interactions between impulsivity and substance abuse, insight, and positive symptoms, the main dynamic risk factors of VB described to date.

Design and methods
Post hoc analysis of data acquired in the frame of a 36-months EP cohort study. A total of 265 EP patients, aged 18 to 35, treated at TIPP (Treatment and early Intervention in Psychosis Program), at the Department of Psychiatry in Lausanne, Switzerland, were included in the study. Logistic regression analyzes were performed as well as mediation analysis and interaction analysis

Our data suggest that impulsivity is a predictor of VB when analyzed independently and as part of a multi-factorial model. Impulsivity continues to differentiate violent patients from non-violent ones at the end of the program. In addition, the relationship between impulsivity and VB is not mediated by substance abuse. Finally, the effect of impulsivity on the probability of VB is potentiated by the interaction of different levels of insight and positive symptoms.

Early intervention strategies in psychotic disorders should include evaluation of impulsivity considering it is linked to increased risk of VB and may respond to treatment.

V. Moulin, P. Golay, J. Palix, P.S. Baumann, M-M. Gholamrezaee, A. Azzola, J. Gasser, K.Q. Do, L. Alameda, P. Conus
European Psychiatry, Volume 49, March 2018