18.06.2018

Violent aggression predicted by multiple pre-adult environmental hits

Early exposure to negative environmental impact shapes individual behavior and potentially contributes to any mental disease.

In line with longstanding sociological theories, the researchers hypothesized that risk accumulation before adulthood induces violent aggression and criminal conduct, independent of mental illness. In 6 independent cohorts (4 schizophrenia and 2 general population samples) pre-adult risk exposure, comprising urbanicity, migration, physical and sexual abuse as primary, and cannabis or alcohol as secondary hits were determined. All single hits by themselves were marginally associated with higher violent aggression. Most strikingly, however, their accumulation strongly predicted violent aggression. The latest research results provide sound evidence of a disease-independent unfortunate relationship between well-defined pre-adult environmental hits and violent aggression, calling for more efficient prevention.

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