Crime, cognitive dysfunction, and mental disorders: The utility and implications for rehabilitation of cognitive testing in a forensic psychiatric population

[Speaker] Shumlich, Erin J:1
[Co-author] Balsom, Rod:2, Gould, Kelsey:1, Hoaken, Peter N.s:1
1:The University of Western Ontario (Canada), 2:St. Joseph's Health Care London (Canada)

Individual differences in Executive Functioning (EF) - memory, cognitive shifting, and inhibition - are starting to be investigated in relation to aggression. The current study found EF deficits are related to criminality in forensic psychiatric patients, individuals who have come in contact with the law due to severe mental disorders. The Delis­Kaplan Executive Functions System (D­KEFS) was administered on­site to 45 forensic psychiatric patients in a medium-security hospital. It was found that this population displayed EF deficits compared to the general public. Specifically, this research suggests deficits in inhibition are postdictive of a violent index offence and rule breaking within the hospital. This research may provide a basis for individualized rehabilitation programs that specifically target cognitive deficits. Violence and crime have immense social impact; understanding and treating specific cognitive deficits underpinning aggression and crime is essential in ensuring the successful reintegration of forensic psychiatric patients and overall public safety.
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