McNair Scholars Program


Date of this Version



McNair Scholars Research Journal, 2010. University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Copyright © 2010 Bethany L. Ridling.


Individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) are often stereotyped as aggressive, although research has shown that the majority of these individuals are not aggressive. Nonetheless, closer examination of factors that differentiate high-aggressors from low-aggressors may predict which individuals are more likely to become verbally and/or physically aggressive. Previous studies have investigated the relationship between insight and aggression in this population. Some studies have found a relationship between poor insight and aggression, while others have not. Other studies have also examined the relationship between locus of control and aggression, and many have found that an external locus of control is related to higher aggression. The current study examined the relationship between insight, locus of control, and aggression in individuals with SMI. Forty-four participants with SMI were included. Participants were grouped according to history of aggressive behavior. A linear discriminant function analysis was performed. Neurocognitive functioning was forced into the discriminant equation to control for the possible effects of neurocognitive impairment on aggression, and the insight and locus of control variables were entered in a second block. The analysis did not identify a significant discriminant function. The insight and locus of control variables were unable to correctly reclassify a significant number of participants into their previously determined categories. In sum, insight and locus of control do not appear to be significantly related to aggression, and it is likely that there are a multitude of other variables that contribute to the occurrence of aggressive behaviors.