Predictors of aggression on the psychiatric inpatient service

Mark R. Serper, Brett R. Goldberg, Kristine G. Herman, Danielle Richarme, James Chou, Charles A. Dill, Robert Cancro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Patients with severe mental illness are at increased risk to commit acts of aggression in the inpatient hospital setting. Aggressive behaviors have severe negative consequences for the patient, victims, clinical staff, and the therapeutic community as a whole. While risk factors of community and inpatient aggression overlap, many predictive factors diverge between the two settings. For example, while medication noncompliance has been a robust predictor of community aggression, this factor has little predictive value for inpatient settings where patients' pharmacotherapy is closely monitored. Relatively fewer investigators have examined a wide range of predictive factors associated with aggressive acts committed on the psychiatry inpatient service, often with conflicting results. The present study examined demographic, clinical, and neurocognitive performance predictors of self, other, object, and verbal aggressiveness in 118 acute inpatients. Results revealed that the arrival status at the hospital (voluntary vs involuntary), female gender, and substance abuse diagnosis were predictors of verbal aggression and aggression against others. Impaired memory functioning also predicted object aggression. Fewer symptoms, combined with higher cognition functioning, however, were significant predictors of self-aggressive acts committed on the inpatient service. The need for relating predictors of specific types of aggressiveness in schizophrenia is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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