Neurodevelopmental and psychosocial risk factors in serial killers and mass murderers

Allely, CS ORCID:, Minnis, H, Thompson, L, Wilson, P and Gillberg, C 2014, 'Neurodevelopmental and psychosocial risk factors in serial killers and mass murderers' , Aggression and Violent Behavior, 19 (3) , pp. 288-301.

PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (472kB) | Preview


Multiple and serial murders are rare events that have a very profound societal impact. We have conducted a systematic review, following PRISMA guidelines, of both the peer reviewed literature and of journalistic and legal sources regarding mass and serial killings. Our findings tentatively indicate that these extreme forms of violence may be a result of a highly complex interaction of biological, psychological and sociological factors and that, potentially, a significant proportion of mass or serial killers may have had neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder or head injury. Research into multiple and serial murders is in its infancy: there is a lack of rigorous studies and most of the literature is anecdotal and speculative. Specific future study of the potential role of neurodevelopmental disorders in multiple and serial murders is warranted and, due to the rarity of these events, innovative research techniques may be required.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Aggression and Violent Behavior
Publisher: Elsevier Masson
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1359-1789
Related URLs:
Funders: Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Depositing User: CS Allely
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2014 16:59
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 18:45

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)