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Title: Characterising emotion processing, fear and anxiety in mentally disordered offenders
Author: Parsons, Aisling
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 8058
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2015
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The aim of the present study was to explore emotion processing, fear and anxiety in mentally disordered offenders while controlling for psychopathy. Patient participants were thirty-seven male mentally disordered offenders from a high-secure hospital who had a history of violent offending. Controls were twenty-seven male staff from the hospital. Participants completed the Emotion Perception Task (EPT), a task of emotion recognition and discrimination in intensity of facial affect. Participants also completed the Joystick Operated Runway Task (JORT), a measure of fear and anxiety. Patients’ level of psychopathy was measured using the Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R). Significant differences were found between patients and controls for overall discrimination of facial affect intensity and for fear and anger individually. Patients with schizophrenia alone performed significantly worse than both patients with personality disorder (PD) alone and patients with comorbid schizophrenia and PD for emotion discrimination. The study found no differences between patients and controls for emotion recognition, induced fear or anxiety. These findings have important theoretical implications for how emotion processing deficits among individuals with schizophrenia are understood in the context of models of violent offending that do not account for defensive violence. Clinical interventions that focus on improving emotion perception accuracy may contribute to a reduction this type of violent re-offending. Recommendations for future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Glorney, Emily; Young, Susan Sponsor: University of Surrey
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available