ALCOHOLISM AND HOMICIDE WITH RESPECT TO THE CLASSIFICATION SYSTEMS OF LESCH AND CLONINGER

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Abstract

Aims

Worldwide criminal statistics show a disproportionately high incidence of violent offences committed under the influence of alcohol. A psychopathological subtyping of alcohol dependence in offenders who committed homicide has mainly been related to impulsive and dissocial personalities up to now.

Methods

In an investigation on 48 alcohol-dependent offenders who committed homicide, a subtyping according to the multidimensional classification systems of Lesch and Cloninger has now been conducted for the first time.

Results

In Lesch's classification, there was a high incidence of homicides committed by type II and type III subjects with the comorbidity anxiety and cyclothymia. While type III offenders were more often repeat offenders, there was a remarkably high rate of first offenders among type II subjects (Chi-squared test; χ2=30.0, df=3, P < 0.001). With respect to Lesch's typology, the blood alcohol concentrations did differ significantly in the group of offenders (Kruskal–Wallis, χ2=18.3, df=3, P < 0.001), whereas the blood alcohol concentration of type II offenders at the time of offence was significantly lower than in type III offenders (Mann–Whitney-U, Z=−3.47; P=0.001). Regarding to the Cloninger's typology, no significant differences in the aforementioned parameters could be found.

Discussion

An excessive noradrenergic reaction of anxiety offenders with initial withdrawal is discussed as a possible explanatory model.

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