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The impact of psychological therapies on violent behaviour in clinical and forensic settings: A systematic review

Joy Ross, Ethel Quayle, Emily Newman, Louise Tansey
Aggression and Violent Behavior; Volume 18, Issue 6, November–December 2013, Pages 761–773.


Violent behaviour is a serious problem in terms of the impact on victims, quality of life for perpetrators, and the financial burden on the prison service, the health sector, and society generally. However, to date there is not a general consensus as to how this can be managed other than removing the perpetrators from communities. Incarceration can be on an indeterminate basis or for a short period of time before reintegration into society, depending on the gravity of the offence. This systematic review critically examines the existing research literature on psychotherapeutic interventions for violent behaviour in forensic and clinical populations. Five databases were searched, selected journals were hand searched, and authors of identified papers were contacted in efforts to obtain relevant unpublished work. The first author and a colleague independently evaluated the eligibility of all studies identified, abstracted data, and assessed study quality. The overall findings provide tentative support for the utility of psychotherapeutic interventions in reducing aggressive behaviour in forensic and psychiatric patients with a history of violent behaviour.



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