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Violence is rare in autism : when it does occur, is it sometimes extreme?

Allely, CS, Wilson, P, Minnis, H, Thompson, L, Yaksic, E and Gillberg, C 2016, 'Violence is rare in autism : when it does occur, is it sometimes extreme?' , Journal of Psychology .

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Abstract

A small body of literature has suggested that, rather than being more likely to engage in offending or violent behaviour, individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may actually have an increased risk of being the victim rather than the perpetrator of violence (Sobsey et al., 1995). There is no evidence that people with ASD are more violent than those without ASD (Im, 2016). There is nevertheless a small subgroup of individuals with ASD who exhibit violent offending behaviours and our previous work has suggested that other factors, such as adverse childhood experiences, might be important in this subgroup (Allely et al., 2014). Fitzgerald (2015) highlights that school shootings and mass killings are not uncommonly carried out by individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, with frequent evidence of warning indicators. The aim of the present review is to investigate this in more detail using the 73 mass shooting cases identified by Mother Jones (motherjones.com) in their database for potential ASD features. This exercise tentatively suggests evidence of ASD in six of 73 included cases (8%) which is ten times higher when compared to the prevalence of ASD found in the general population worldwide (motherjones.com). The 8% figure for individuals with ASD involved mass killings is a conservative estimate. In addition to the six cases which provide the 8% figure, there were 15 other cases with some indication of ASD. Crucially, ASD may influence, but does not cause, an individual to commit extreme violent acts such as a mass shooting episode.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Psychology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0022-3980
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: WM Taylor
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2016 08:05
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2016 08:27
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/38706

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