Personality Characteristics of Alcoholic Criminal Offenders and Non-Offenders

By Palijan, Tija Zarkovic; Kovacevic, Drazen et al. | Alcoholism, July 1, 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Personality Characteristics of Alcoholic Criminal Offenders and Non-Offenders

Palijan, Tija Zarkovic, Kovacevic, Drazen, Kovac, Marina, Turcinovic, Marjeta Knez, Medak, Jelena, Alcoholism

Summary - The research was based on some personality traits of alcoholics, such as special qualities of psychopathological and socio-pathological characteristics of alcoholic offenders according to the type of criminal offence and non-offenders. The research was carried out in prison and hospital system in Popovaca. Two groups of examinees were included. The experimental group (E) (N=96) consisted of persons convicted for homicide (N1=32), traffic offences (N2=32) and offences against property (N3=32). The control group (K) (N4=64) consisted of alcoholics undergoing hospital treatment at the Alcoholism Department of Neuropsychiatric Hospital Dr. Ivan Barbot in Popovaca. There were no evident differences in the examined psychopathological variables among alcoholic offenders except that the offenders against property displayed more aggression than the homicide offenders.

Key words: Alcoholic, Aggression, Criminal offence


It is a very well-known fact that alcoholism is a factor that encourages criminal acts. In literature, there are numerous attempts of finding an answer to the question what is critical for perpetration of criminal offence. As we can see from literature research there are numerous factors that define if a person is going to commit a criminal offence.1 There are numerous likely characteristics in alcoholics:1-4 psychopathic traits, antisocial behavior, hostility as a sign of weak impulse control, impulsivity, low frustration tolerance, satisfaction with short-term awarding, difficulties in maintaining adequate objective relationships, problems with sexual identity and negative self image.56

Antisocial personality disorder is frequently connected with alcoholism. Cloninger7,8 has observed adopted sons of alcoholics. Patient's subgroup type 2 had personality characteristics that show great dependence on awarding, excessive injury avoidance and low desire for acquiring new experience. It has been shown that type 2: subgroup is characterized by early alcoholic behavior, depression, suicidal tendencies and unrestrained physical violence.7,8 Results from Von Knorring and associates9 showed that type 2 alcoholics are anxious, verbally aggressive; less socialized and inhibited on the level of aggression as opposed to type 1 alcoholics. Regarding the psychopathic factors, type 2 alcoholics are significantly different from both type 1 and from healthy volunteers.

Kozaric Kovacic10 states that the group of aggressive alcoholics showed markedly lower psychosocial maturity in the latent phase in comparison with non-aggressive alcoholics with significantly higher level of outward hostility than non-delinquent alcoholics. In one research11 the »classic« alcoholic personality profile was obtained. It showed that there are no significant differences in the personality traits of alcoholic offenders and non-offenders, except considering the area of aggression. The generalization of these conclusions requires reviewing in future research.

The aim of the study was to determine the psychopathological characteristics of alcoholic personality regarding the type of criminal offence. Hypothesis of the study is that alcoholic homicide offenders show more hostile, depressive and anxious personality characteristics.


The study was conducted in the penal system, in Penitentiary in Lipovica and in Neuropsychiatrie hospital »Dr Ivan Barbot« in Popovaca. It included two groups of subjects.

Experimental group (E) (N=96) consisted of individuals sentenced for homicide (N1=32), traffic offences (N2=32) and property offences (N3=32). Experimental group consisted of subjects who had been diagnosed with alcohol dependence through expert evaluation and were subjected to treatment of alcoholism in their penal institutions. The subjects had been drinking for at least 5 years and, with the clinical assessment of alcohol dependence, they met the diagnostic criteria according to MKB-10(12) and DSM-IV.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Personality Characteristics of Alcoholic Criminal Offenders and Non-Offenders


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?