An investigation into offending behaviour in a severely head injured population : preliminary findings and implications
Head Injury (HI) is a significant cause of neurological morbidity in the UK. Each year approximately one hundred per hundred thousand of the population experience significant impairment following such injury. Commentators suggest that the changes, which occur following head injury, affect personality, memory, concentration, interpersonal relations and other areas of personal and social functioning. Offending behaviours such as increased aggression and disinhibition are also reported. Head injury is known to occur more frequently in the young male adult population and typically at an age when offending is commonplace. The research undertaken in this study involved retrospective case note analysis. It employed a quantitative research paradigm to examine the nature and occurrence of offending behaviour in a severely head injured population undergoing neurorehabilitation in a specialist inpatient facility. Factors associated with offending were noted. Results obtained highlighted factors that were significantly associated with offending behaviour for this population. These included: younger age at injury, time left without rehabilitation between injury and admission to rehabilitation and substance abuse following injury. Severity of injury was not implicated in offending, neither, surprisingly were frontal HI cases, indeed these were significantly under-represented amongst offenders. No behaviours other than sexually inappropriate behaviour on admission discriminated between offenders and non-offenders. Offenders were noted as sexually inappropriate. Organisational, clinical and research implications were considered. Findings suggest that offenders and non-offenders achieve similar outcomes on the basis of discharge behaviours. However, the most clinically significant implication of the study was that young adults who require specialised neurorehabilitation treatment should not be delayed in the access to the same.