What is it about?

Different trajectories of self-control found in forensic psychiatric patients during their time in treatment, and the variables (intelligence, criminal factors, clinical factors) associated with trajectory membership. Most patients showed changes over time at different rates in both impulsivity and coping skills indicators, more problematic and stable trajectories were associated with a worse criminal history and more recidivism.

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Why is it important?

Self-control is seen as one of the main predictors of crime, but has rarely been investigated in mentally ill offenders. As patients are treated with the aim of resocialization, it is important to reduce the risk of crime, which may happen true the improvement of self-control. Seeing how self-control changes during treatment and what types of factors this depends on may be valuable to further guide treatment.


I personally think this paper is a first step into an important direction. We need more longitudinal research in forensic settings, and more research in general in forensic psychiatric settings. As it is very difficult to engage a sample in these settings, using file data, as we did in this paper, is a good option to get a basic idea. Based on this type of more preliminary research we should be able to make more specific hypotheses and hopefully create the opportunity to do more rigorous and in-depth research.

Eva Billen
Tilburg University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Trajectories of Self-control in a Forensic Psychiatric Sample: Stability and Association with Psychopathology, Criminal History, and Recidivism, Criminal Justice and Behavior, June 2019, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0093854819856051.
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