Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor

Casey LaDuke

Second Reader

Charles Stone

Third Advisor

Erin Williams


The rate of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are increasing each year, impacting an estimated 1.4 million Americans. After further investigation, researchers have concluded that 8.5% of the general public sustains at least one TBI, whereas this number ranges from 25% to 87% in criminal populations. In the literature, impulsivity is frequently described as poorly conceived, prematurely expressed, or inappropriate behaviors. Additionally, poor impulse control has been shown to significantly impact the likelihood of criminal activity, increasing the rate of recidivism. The current study examined an archival dataset of 95 incarcerated individuals from a private correctional facility in a large mid-Atlantic state. The dataset was used to measure TBI and impulsivity related to crime. Since the severity of a TBI is important, an analysis examined moderate or severe TBIs to determine if there was a significant relationship to impulsivity and crime. Although the current study did not support every hypothesis, there was a significant and meaningful difference in impulsivity between the groups where a TBI was present, compared to when a TBI was not present. This finding suggests that individuals with moderate or severe TBIs are more likely to display problems associated with impulsivity. As such, the relationships among TBI, impulsivity, and crime clear merit further scientific study, with the ultimate goal of informing clinical practice and criminal justice policy.



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