For enquiries about The POLICY RESEARCH BUREAU's past work,
Antisocial Personality Disorder:
A Scoping Review


In 2000, the government issued proposals for the policy development of the management of dangerous people with severe personality disorder. Primary prevention was been identified as part of the overall strategy needed to tackle the issue. Although severe personality disorder is relatively rare, people with such disorder pose a high risk to the public. Hence the need to appraise what is known about the disorder and what can be done to prevent its development in the early stages. A literature review, funded by the Home Office, was undertaken to assess interventions with adolescents at particular risk of developing personality disorder, to inform future government policy.

What did the research focus on?

The review examined childhood risk factors for the development of severe personality disorder and also considered protective factors leading to its reduction. Interventions for use with adolescents were reviewed and their effectiveness was assessed in terms of reduced rates of serious offending in adulthood, improved mental health and social functioning, and cost-effectiveness.

What did the research involve?

The review involved systematic searches of literature sources for information regarding risk factors for severe personality disorder and also interventions with adolescents. These included articles, books and reports concerned with forensic and adolescent psychiatry, mental health and social services.

Timescale and final products of the research

A final report was submitted to the Home Office at the end of April 2000 and was used to inform decisions about future research and development required, and policy in this area. It also served to inform a specialist seminar being convened by the Home Office/Department of Health Working Group.

The report was published in 2001:

Moran P and Hagell A (2001) Intervening to prevent antisocial personality disorder: A scoping review. Research Study 225, London: Home Office.

The full report is available at no charge from the Home Office and is on their website at:

See Publications for further details.

Last updated July 2004