Monash University

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Understanding aggression and victimisation in first-episode psychosis using a social information processing framework

posted on 2017-03-22, 01:45 authored by Malone, Aisling
Current literature has established that the prevalence of both aggression and victimisation are elevated in psychotic illness. There is also evidence to suggest that these phenomena may be related. While research into aggression in psychosis is long-standing, little is currently known regarding the risks for victimisation. The goal of the current study was to use contemporary psychological theories of aggression and victimisation to explore possible reasons for the increased risk of both in psychotic illness. Social information processing difficulties, specifically impairments in facial affect recognition, were posited as a potential contributor to this relationship. The sample comprised 74 males, aged 16 to 28, currently engaged with an early psychosis service in Victoria, Australia. All participants were given a battery of measures including a computerised facial affect recognition task, as well as measures of aggression, victimisation, substance use, cognitive ability, psychopathy, and childhood trauma. Aggression and victimisation were not related in the current study. Multiple regression analysis revealed that aggression was predicted by psychopathic personality traits, alcohol use and IQ, but was not related to facial affect recognition. Victimisation, however, was significantly associated with impairments in emotion recognition. Risk of victimisation was predicted by poorer recognition of sadness, and by psychopathic personality traits. These results contribute to psychological understandings of aggression and victimisation in psychotic illness, and have implications for treatment. These results also highlight possible directions for future research.


Principal supervisor

Andrew Carroll

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Psychological Sciences

Campus location



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences

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