Characterizing aggressive behavior in a forensic population

Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2006 Jan;76(1):80-5. doi: 10.1037/0002-9432.76.1.80.


The concept of a dichotomous versus a continuous aggression model continues to be debated within the research literature. The Impulsive/Premeditated Aggression Scale (IPAS; M. S. Stanford, R. J. Houston, C. W. Mathias, et al., 2003) is a newly developed self-report instrument designed to classify an individual's aggressive behavior as predominantly premeditated or predominantly impulsive. The IPAS consists of 30-items that are scored on a 5-point Likert scale. This study used a nonrandom sample of convenience (N = 85) from a forensic state hospital. Principal-components analysis of the 30 items revealed 2 distinct factors (Impulsive and Premeditated Aggression), which accounted for 33% of the variance. The results of this study further validate the bimodal classification of aggression through its application to a forensic sample. The implications for general assessment, diagnosis, and treatment are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires