Theory, Assessment, and Treatment

Edited by Christopher D. Webster and Margaret A. Jackson

June 20, 1997
ISBN 9781572302259
Price: $85.00
462 Pages
Size: 6⅛" x 9¼"
bookProfessors: request an exam copy

Impulsivity features prominently in contemporary descriptions of many psychiatric disorders, and is also a key element in the clinical risk assessment of violence. Thoroughly examining the nature, assessment, and treatment of impulsive conduct, this up-to-date volume brings together contributions from prominent researchers and clinicians in both mental health and correctional settings. Chapters illuminate our current understanding of impulsive behavior from conceptual, legal, and biological perspectives, and address the challenges of describing and measuring it. Special features include several invaluable 20-item checklists designed to aid in risk evaluation with mentally disordered persons, potentially suicidal correctional inmates, spousal assaulters, and sex offenders. Impulsivity provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the research and delineates a broad, clinically pertinent agenda for future study.

“Take an interesting idea of developing practical relevance, secure the services of insightful thinkers from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds (including dissidents), arrange a conference and then have the papers skillfully edited into a coherent and structured volume full of stimulating ideas. That is what Chris Webster and Margaret Jackson have done with Impulsivity. A very wide range of issues and perspectives are considered, although more on the positive, socially valued, aspects of impulsivity would have been appreciated. From different disciplinary perspectives to applications to particular groups of people; from implications for risk assessment to different approaches to treatment, in 23 chapters. Different readers will find the volume timely for their own particular reasons; for me, as a lawyer, it is the recognition of the need to move away from dichotomous cognitive tests of responsibility toward assessments of ability to control behavior, to change, and to learn. This is a very stimulating and rewarding collection.”

—David Carson, L.L.B, Reader in Law and Behavioural Science, Faculty of Law, The University of Southampton

Impulsivity: Perspectives, Policy, and Practice is an important and impressive collection of state-of-the-art reviews on theoretical, empirical, and clinical aspects of impulsivity, and the technology for its assessment and treatment. This book gives a lucid and readable account of the state of professional knowledge on impulsivity, then delivers a series of thoughtful and practical analyses of the implications and applications of this knowledge. This valuable resource for researchers and clinicians should go a long way toward 'bridging the gap' between knowledge and practice concerning issues of impulsivity, particularly as it pertains to risk for violence. This book squarely delivers on its promise as a comprehensive treatise on impulsivity, but it goes even further to make a significant contribution to the professional literature on violence risk assessment. This is the most comprehensive and definitive reference on impulsivity currently available.”

—Randy Borum, PsyD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center

“This book is a major contribution to the field. It is a very well written, wide-ranging, informative, and useful exploration of the nature, assessment, and treatment of impulsive antisocial behavior in adults and older adolescents. It also provides excellent guidelines for conducting violence risk assessments in a variety of circumstances. Impulsivity: Perspectives, Principles, and Practice should be required reading for all doctoral students in clinical psychology and related fields; and many practicing clinicians and other professionals who are concerned with impulsive individuals will find the book to be well worth reading and having on their shelves.”

—Thomas R. Litwack, PhD, JD, Professor of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Table of Contents

Introduction, Jackson and Webster

I. Perspectives

1. A Clinical Perspective on Impulsivity, Webster and Jackson

2. A Legal Perspective on the Concept of "Impulsivity," Ogloff

3. A Social Psychological Perspective on Impulsivity: Intimate Violence as an Example, Dutton

4. A Sociological Perspective on Impulsivity: Some Cautionary Comments on the Genesis of a Clinical Construct, Menzies

5. A Cybernautical Perspective on Impulsivity and Addiction, Clark

II. Foundations

6. The Biopsychology of Impulsivity: Focus on Brain Serotonin, Coscina

7. Brain Impairment in Impulsive Violence, Bowman

8. Impulsivity in Adults: A Critical Review of Measurement Approaches, Parker and Bagby

9. Impulsivity in Children and Adolescents, Zaparniuk and Taylor

10. Impulsivity in Major Mental Disorders, Coles

11. Impulsivity in DSM-IV Impulse-Control Disorders, Hucker

12. Impulsivity and Psychopathy, Hart and Dempster

13. A Conceptual Model for the Study of Violence and Aggression, Jackson

III. Practice: Assessment

14. Assessing Risk of Violence to Others, Webster, Douglas, Eaves, and Hart

15. Assessing Risk of Suicide in Correctional Settings, Polvi

16. Assessing Risk of Violence in Wife Assaulters: The Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide, Kropp and Hart

17. Assessing Risk of Sexual Violence: Guidelines for Clinical Practice, Boer, Wilson, Gauthier, and Hart

18. A Guide for Conducting Risk Assessments, Webster

IV. Practice: Treatment

19. Mentally Disordered Offenders: What Research Says about Effective Service, Harris and Rice

20. Pharmacological Approaches to Impulsive and Aggressive Behavior, Conacher

21. A Systems Approach to the Management of Impulsive Behavior, Eaves, Tien, and Wilson

22. Integrated Support: A Case Approach to the Management of Impulsive People, Ryan

23. A Guide for Creating Treatment Programs, Webster

About the Editors

Christopher D. Webster, PhD, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. Formerly Head of Psychology and Head of the Impulsivity Programme at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto and Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Criminology at the University of Toronto, Dr. Webster has published extensively about assessing risk of violence.

Margaret A. Jackson, PhD, a psychologist by training, is Professor and Director of the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University. Formerly a Research Scientist at the Metropolitan Toronto Forensic Service (METFORS), Dr. Jackson has completed several studies on the way dangerousness is perceived by clinicians and members of the judiciary, and has written and edited several books on clinical criminology.


Mental health practitioners working in private practice, correctional facilities, health care settings, and community-based programs, as well as students in a range of mental health fields.

Serves as a primary or supplementary text for advanced undergraduate and graduate-level courses.

Course Use

Serves as a primary or supplementary text for advanced undergraduate and graduate-level courses.