Do cognitive deficits predict negative emotionality and aggression in schizophrenia?

Anthony O. Ahmed, Jenae Richardson, Alex Buckner, Sabrina Romanoff, Michelle Feder, Njideka Oragunye, Andriana Ilnicki, Ishrat Ali Bhat, Matthew J. Hoptman, Jean Pierre Lindenmayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Schizophrenia is associated with an elevated risk of aggression. Cognitive deficits have been associated with inpatient aggression and future violence. The relationship between cognitive deficits and violent behavior has however been inconsistent across studies. In addition, studies have failed to inform how cognitive deficits may contribute to aggression in schizophrenia. The current study examined the association of cognitive deficits with schizophrenia-related aggression and violent offending. It also explored the putative mediating role of negative emotionality on the impact of cognitive deficits on aggression. People with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder (N = 78) were recruited from a state hospital. Participants were classified based on their history of violent offending. Participants completed measures of cognition, symptoms, and aggression. Deficits in working memory, reasoning/problem-solving, and verbal learning were the most prioritized for the prediction of violent offender status. Violent offenders demonstrated greater impairments in most cognitive domains especially working memory and verbal learning. Offenders also demonstrated greater negative emotionality, excitement/agitation, and incidents of verbal and physical aggression. Negative emotionality and excitement/agitation fully transmitted the effect of cognitive deficits on impulsive aggression in meditational models. Cognitive deficits increase the risk of impulsive aggression in schizophrenia via inefficient regulation of negative affective states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-357
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Cognition
  • Emotion regulation
  • Hostility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Do cognitive deficits predict negative emotionality and aggression in schizophrenia?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this