Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Danique Smeijers (Donders series 271)

19 June 2017

Promotor: prof. dr. R. Verkes, prof. dr. J. Buitelaar

Copromotor: dr. E. Bulten

Severe aggressive behavior: towards understanding some of the underlying characteristics and treatment responsivity.

Aggressive behavior is defined as any behavior directed to another person, object or animal with the intention to cause harm. Considering the enormous health, social and economic consequences of aggression, there is a critical need for a better understanding of underlying causes and maintaining factors as well as of effective treatments of maladaptive aggressive behavior. This dissertation contributes to the enhancement of this understanding by revealing several underlying causes as well as maintaining factors of severe aggressive behavior displayed by forensic psychiatric outpatients. Furthermore, multiple characteristics emerged to be associated with either treatment outcome or with treatment drop-out. Moreover, it was revealed that aggressive behavior decreased during treatment but that not every patient benefitted from treatment. Disproportionate aggressive behavior is a complex phenomenon with detrimental consequences. This dissertation revealed that it is a treatable condition and offers suggestions in how to reduce aggressive behavior even more successfully.