Threatcontrol override

These inconsistent findings suggest that other variables affect the behavioural consequences of psychotic phenomena. The presence of acute symptoms may be more important than their nature(7,89 and the early years of the illness seem to produce more violence than the later years. (81 But the most convincing explanation for variations in the generation of violence by psychotic symptoms is the threat-control override theory advanced by Link and Stueve. (7°) They posit that psychotic symptoms are more likely to result in violence when the symptoms cause a feeling of personal threat or the intrusion of thoughts that can override self-controls. Threat-control override symptoms in the previous 12 months were assessed by rated answers to three questions.

• How often have you felt that your mind was dominated by forces beyond your control?

• How often have you felt that thoughts were put into your head that were not your own?

• How often have you felt that there were people who wished to do you harm?

Link and Stueve(70.) found that high scores on the threat-control override scale were predictors of violence even when other psychotic symptoms remained constant.

Further work is required, but the theory provides a plausible and practical support for clinical work.

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