Inpatient aggression in forensic psychiatric patients with autism spectrum disorder: the role of risk and protective factors

Rianne Bosch*, Farid Chakhssi, Ko Hummelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are overrepresented in forensic samples. However, research on risk assessment in forensic patients with ASD is scarce. The purpose of this paper was to examine the prevalence of short-term inpatient aggression and explore the risk and protective factors for aggression in forensic psychiatric patients with ASD (N = 32). Design/methodology/approach: The association between two commonly used violence risk assessment instruments (HKT-R and SAPROF) and physical aggression during ten weeks of inpatient stay was examined in a Dutch forensic psychiatric hospital. Findings: Results showed no significant association between HKT-R and SAPROF and incidents of physical aggression. This suggests that the commonly used assessment instruments may be of limited use for assessing the risk of short-term inpatient aggression in patients with ASD. Research limitations/implications: Limitations to the current study include the relatively small sample size and the lack of information on index offenses. Further research with a larger, more homogeneous sample and longer follow-up is indicated to confirm the results of this study. Future research should also include the possible association between aggressive behavior of people with ASD and other factors that might be relevant, such as social cognition deficits, cognitive and sensory impairments, deficient empathy and emotion regulation problems. Originality/value: To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to directly examine the prevalence of inpatient aggression of forensic psychiatric patients with ASD and its association with risk and protective factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2020


  • Aggression
  • Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Physical aggression
  • Risk assessment


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