Heterogeneity of Violent Offenders and the Implications for Correctional Treatment: A Descriptive Profile and Examination of Treatment-Related Outcomes and Executive Cognitive Functioning in Reactive and Instrumental Violent Offenders

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Derkzen, Dena




Purpose: By merging neuropsychological theory and practice with forensic correctional tenets, the goal of the current thesis was to explore the profile of treatment-related outcomes and executive cognitive functioning (ECF) among reactive violent offenders and instrumental violent offenders. Method: Three studies were conducted to examine the following key areas: 1) the prevalence and profile of reactive and instrumental violent offenders in terms of demographic characteristics, offence types, static risk, criminogenic needs, and psychometric measures assessing constructs related to aggression (n = 395); 2) an examination of treatment-related variables, such as readiness to change, program completion rates, and release outcomes across violent offender subtypes; and 3) an examination of ECF in reactive and instrumental violent and nonviolent offenders (n = 171). Results: In terms of profile results, violent offender subtypes were differentiated regarding the severity of violence, degree of provocation, familiarity with victim, type of substance used, and emotional state during the incident. With respect to treatment outcomes, reactive violent offenders were more likely to drop out of correctional treatment; however, they had lower rates of return to custody relative to instrumental violent offenders. ECF was differentially related to offender subtypes; specifically, reactive violent offenders were more deficient relative to nonviolent offenders. Conclusion: Many of the findings are preliminary, and as such, further replication is required. Given the differential results related to substance abuse, assessment of risk, program outcomes, and ECF, differential treatment programs for violent offenders are an important direction to consider in future program development.


Psychology - Social




Carleton University

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