The importance of impulsivity and attention switching deficits in perpetrators convicted for intimate partner violence.
Aggress Behav. 2019 03;45(2):129-138
Authors: Romero-Martínez Á, Lila M, Moya-Albiol L
It has been stated that Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increases the likelihood of risky behavior such as intimate partner violence (IPV), but the cognitive mechanisms that facilitate or underlie these types of behavior remain unexplained. In this regard, several authors have established that impulsivity and inattentive symptoms might affect basic processes such as emotional decoding and set-shifting abilities, which are important processes for emotional and behavioral regulation. Hence, these symptoms entail a reduction in sensitivity to key contextual stimuli. Accordingly, the main aim of this study was to examine the involvement of impulsivity (assessed by self-reports) and attention switching impairments (assessed with the Attention Switching Task; AST), as well as the associations between these cognitive processes in facial emotion decoding (assessed by the eyes test) and cognitive flexibility impairments (measured by the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, WCST) in a sample of IPV perpetrators (n = 89; mean age = 40) and a control group matched on socio-demographic characteristics (n = 39; mean age = 41). IPV perpetrators had higher trait impulsivity and greater attention switching costs than controls. Moreover, differences were also found between groups in facial expression decoding and WCST performance, with IPV perpetrators showing lower Eyes Test and WCST scores. Mainly, we observed that the ability to recognize facial expressions was poorer when individuals showed high impulsivity in both groups, but this association was only explained by deficits in attention switching in IPV perpetrators. Our research reinforces the importance of impulsivity and inattentive symptoms as targets for specific cognitive rehabilitation interventions designed to prevent the long-term IPV risk of recidivism.
PMID: 30474120 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]