Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol. 76, No. 2, Summer 2005 (
SOCIAL ISOLATION, IMPULSIVITY AND
DEPRESSION AS PREDICTORS OF
AGGRESSION IN A PSYCHIATRIC
Christopher J. Ferguson, Ph.D., Patricia M. Averill, Ph.D.,
Howard Rhoades, Ph.D., Donna Rocha, M.D., Nelson P.
Gruber, M.D., and Pushpa Gummattira, M.D.
Aggressive behavior among psychiatric inpatients remains an issue of concern
for staff, families and patients themselves. At the present time, studies examin-
ing prediction of aggression among psychiatric inpatients have focused mainly
on diagnostic or demographic risk factors. Unfortunately little is known about
speciﬁc social functioning and personality risk factors that may help identify
speciﬁc individuals at risk for aggressive behavior. Given that many individuals
who have engaged in violent criminal behavior have been observed to experience
a combination of social isolation, depression and impulsiveness, it is possible
Christopher J. Ferguson, M.S., is Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Uni-
versity of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI.
Patricia M. Averill, Ph.D., Howard Rhoades, Ph.D., and Nelson P. Gruber, M.D., are
Associate Professors, University of Texas – Houston Medical School, Department of Psy-
chiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Harris County Psychiatric Center, Houston, TX.
Donna Rocha, M.D., and Pushpa Gummattira, M.D., are Assistant Professors, Uni-
versity of Texas – Houston Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral
Sciences, Harris County Psychiatric Center, Houston, TX.
Address correspondence to Christopher J. Ferguson, M.S., Department of Psychology,
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, 800 West Main St., Whitewater, WI 53190; e-mail:
2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.