What is the link between personality disorder and dangerousness? A critique of ‘dangerous and severe personality disorder’

Rick Howard (Peaks Academic & Research Unit, Division of Psychiatry, Rampton Hospital, Retford, and Forensic Mental Health Unit, University of Nottingham)

The British Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 1463-6646

Publication date: 1 December 2006


This paper reviews the medico‐legal background to the development of the pilot programme for treatment and assessment of dangerous individuals with severe personality disorder. It raises the question: is personality disorder related to dangerousness, and (if so) what mediates the relationship? It then reviews recent findings suggesting that patients deemed to be dangerous and severely personality disordered are characterised by a combination of antisocial and borderline traits, and as such are a source of distress both to themselves and to others. It remains for future research to determine how this particular constellation of personality disorders is functionally linked to dangerousness, and whether the link is mediated by neuropsychological impairment resulting from early‐onset alcohol abuse, as recently proposed by Howard (2006). It is recommended that the current criteria for ‘dangerous and severe personality disorder’ be dispensed with.


Howard, R. (2006), "What is the link between personality disorder and dangerousness? A critique of ‘dangerous and severe personality disorder’", The British Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 19-23. https://doi.org/10.1108/14636646200600021

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.