Two personality disorders appear to be linked to many incidents of workplace violence and, in particular, to homicide perpetrated by a lethal employee

or ex-employee. These are antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.


DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) provides indicators of behavior which are often associated with these disorders:


                                         Indicators for Antisocial Personality Disorder

                                             Disregard for the rights of others

                                             Violation of the rights of others

                               Persistent non-conformance to laws, regulations and social norms

                                                 Deceitfulness and lying

                                              Impulsive and erratic behavior

                                              Irritability and aggressiveness

                                         Reckless disregard for the safety of others

                                     Consistent irresponsibility (domestic and at work)

                                       Lack of remorse for harmful actions to others

                                                  Indifference to others

                                           More prevalent in males than females

                                   Often associated with inferior socioeconomic condition

                                             More prevalent in urban settings


                                         Indicators for Borderline Personality Disorder

                                     Significant fear of real or imagined abandonment

                                       Pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships

                                           Unstable sense of self or self-identity

                                            Impulsive, self-damaging behavior

                                                   Suicidal behavior

                                           Behavior threatening to self or others

                                              Unstable moods and reactions

                                              Chronic feelings of emptiness

                                       Inappropriate and intense outbursts of anger

                                      Fighting and other forms of physical aggression

                                     Paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

                                           More prevalent in females than males



Also associated with violent behavior is the presence of a psychosis which can be associated with a variety of psychological disorders. DSM IV

provides these general indicators of psychosis:


                                              General Indicators of Psychosis

                              Delusions or hallucinations which are bizarre and may be auditory

                              Persistent inability to function effectively in a social or work setting

                                       Disorganized or incoherent behavior or speech

                                  Significant paranoia accompanied by delusional thinking

                                            Unusual physical or motor activity

                                         Extreme and persistent negativism or fear

                                  Incoherent and inappropriate communication with others

                                        Disorganized or incoherent thought process



Finally, a major depressive episode can lead to violent behavior. Although the violence resulting from this disorder is usually self-directed, it can be

directed towards others:


                                           Indicators of a Major Depressive Episode

                                      Feelings of sadness, emptiness or worthlessness

                                         Diminished interest in normal activities

                                        Significant change in weight and/or appetite

                                                Insomnia or hypersomnia

                                           Psychomotor agitation or retardation

                                          Reduction in normal levels of efficiency

                                                Fatigue or loss of energy

                                              Inappropriate feelings of guilt

                                              Sorrowful, tearful appearance

                                           Deterioration of physical appearance

                                           Increased irritability and frustration

                                    Reduced ability to concentrate and/or indecisiveness

                                          Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide