Frontal white matter microstructure, aggression, and impulsivity in men with schizophrenia: A preliminary study

Matthew J. Hoptman, Jan Volavka, Glyn Johnson, Elisabeth Weiss, Robert M. Bilder, Kelvin O. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Background: Aggression and impulsivity may involve altered frontal white matter. Methods: Axial diffusion tensor images were acquired in 14 men with schizophrenia using a pulsed gradient, double spin echo, echo planar imaging method. White matter microstructural measures (fractional anisotropy and trace) were calculated from these data. Regions of interest were placed in frontal white matter on four slices. Impulsivity was measured using the Motor Impulsiveness factor of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale. Aggressiveness was measured using the Assaultiveness scale of the Buss Durkee Hostility Inventory and the Aggression scale of the Life History of Aggression. Results: Lower fractional anisotropy in right inferior frontal white matter was associated with higher motor impulsiveness. Higher trace in these regions was associated with aggressiveness. Conclusions: Inferior frontal white matter microstructure was associated with impulsivity and aggression in men with schizophrenia. These results implicate frontal lobe dysfunction in aggression and certain aspects of impulsivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by a NARSAD Young Investigator Award to MJH and National Institute of Mental Health Grants MH53313 and MH60662 to KOL. EW was supported by the Fonds zur Foerderung wissenschaftlicher Forschung (FWf: J2009). Portions of these data were presented at the 13 th Annual New York State Office of Mental Health Research Conference, Albany, NY, December, 2000, and at the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research, Whistler, BC, Canada, May, 2001.


  • DTI
  • Impulsivity
  • Neuroimaging
  • Schizophrenia
  • Violence
  • White matter

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