Evidence suggests violence amongst those with psychosis is not aetiologically homogeneous, and that a large proportion of those who engage in violent behaviour have a comorbid antisocial personality disorder. Initial investigations indicate that this subgroup has distinct historical and neuropsychological characteristics, which may indicate diverse treatment needs. This study investigated sensorimotor gating characteristics of violent men with diagnoses of both psychosis and dissocial personality disorder (DPD) (n = 21) relative to violent men with psychosis alone (n = 12), DPD alone (n = 14) and healthy, non-violent male controls (n = 27), using the prepulse inhibition (PPI) paradigm. The results indicated that, relative to the psychosis alone and healthy control groups, the comorbid group had lower PPI, especially at 60-ms prepulse-to-pulse interval. The DPD group took an intermediary position and did not differ from any group. Antisocial personality traits (factor two scores of the Psychopathy Checklist - Revised), and greater severity of childhood psychosocial deprivation (including physical and sexual abuse), were significantly correlated with poor PPI across the clinical sample. The findings suggest diverse sensorimotor gating profiles amongst subgroups of violent offenders, with comorbid psychosis and DPD showing most impairment. This is consistent with a 'double dose' of deficit explanation amongst those with both diagnoses, explained at least in part by presence of antisocial personality traits and childhood psychosocial deprivation.
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Prepulse inhibition