Post-Concussion Symptoms after Self-Reported Head Injury, and Reactive Aggression in Young Male Offenders
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Objective Adolescence is recognised as a risk period for offending and head injury (HI), with higher rates of HI found in the young offender (YO) population compared to the general population. Drug and alcohol use has also been associated with increased risk of offending. This study aims to explore the relationships between HI, Post-concussion symptoms (PCS), reactive and proactive aggression, and offending behaviour in YOs, whilst considering the effects of drug and alcohol use on these relationships. Participants A sample of ninety eight males was recruited from a Young Offender Institute: the age range was 16-18 years of age with an average age of 17. Design A between subjects cross sectional design was employed. Participants were recruited using an opportunistic sampling strategy. Main Measures Self-rated/report measures of: HI, Post-Concussion Symptoms (Adapted Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptom Questionnaire), Aggression (Reactive-Proactive Scale), criminal histories, and drug and alcohol history. Results HI was reported by 73.5% of the overall sample, with 61.1% reporting a “knock out”. Frequency and severity of HI was associated with significantly higher PCS scores. Examination of covariate- drug and alcohol use did not affect these relationships. PCS were a significant predictor of reactive aggression, total number of convictions and number of previous violent convictions. However, dosage of HI (severity and frequency) was not a significant predictor of reactive aggression or criminal profiles. Conclusions There appears to be a dose-response effect of severity and frequency of HI on PCS, with PCS predicting reactive aggression. Such symptoms may compromise functions and lead to increased aggression. This highlights the need for better screening and interventions for HI and on-going symptoms in YOs.
Doctorate in Clinical Psychology