Group: Hjalmar van Marle
Description research Diagnosis, treatment and risk profiling are the main areas of research in forensic psychiatry. Our group has two main themes in this field, the development of criminal careers for juvenile and adult offenders and psychiatric determinants of violent behaviour, with special interest for the translation of empirical research findings into clinical practice.
In our current research, emphasis has been given to experimental psychological and psychophysiological designs to attribute to a further differentiation between subgroups of mentally disordered offenders. The role of hormones in these processes is investigated by taking samples of cortisol and testosterone. By this multidisciplinary approach, psychotic offenders, anti social personality disordered patients and psychopaths are discriminated regarding the start of their offending behaviour related to the onset of their mental disorder and regarding psychiatric precursors of violence. Results should lead to a better indication and programming of forensic psychiatric treatment.
Special attention is given to the complexity of sexual offending, as a phenomenon limited to adolescence, persistent adult offending with or without other non-sexual offenses, and the specific influence of cognitive distorsions on sexual offending.
A new group among sexual offenders that has as yet not received much attention but has great social relevance, are child pornography downloaders. The focus of our research group is on how this subtype differs from other subtypes within sex offenders with respect to psychiatric disorders.
Further studies are directed at the role of attachment problems and personality disorders in domestic violence offenders. A special branch of our research are juridico-legal matters as legislation and expert witness testimony about penal and civil law accountability relating to psychiatric disorders. Consultation from this research is given to organizations, offices and courts.