Some more prone to violence when drunk

Some people are more likely to turn violent when drunk because of one particular personality trait, new research has found. Investigators at Ohio State University discovered this characteristic is the ability to consider the future consequences of current actions.

According to the study, which has been published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, individuals who do not possess this trait are unlikely to become any more aggressive when intoxicated than they would when sober.

Brad Bushman, Professor of Communication and Psychology at the institute - established in 1870 and including 14 colleges - said those who focus on "the here and now, without thinking about the impact on the future, are more aggressive than others when they are sober, but the effect is magnified greatly when they're drunk".

Professor Bushman pointed out individuals who carefully consider the consequence of their actions are unlikely to become more aggressive than usual when imbibing alcohol.

Dr Michael Sinclair, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "These are interesting findings. Such individuals may also have a low level of distress tolerance which might also cloud consideration of future consequences.

"It is understanding that alcohol may further lower levels of distress tolerance as when inebriated lucid and rational thought may be harder to access for individuals, as no doubt would also be the ability to focus attention on the present moment of distressing experience in a more helpful and non-judgemental way.

"In my experience, patients with anger and impulse control disorders including aggressive tendencies have found the principles and practice of mindfulness helpful. They have developed improved levels of distress tolerance and acceptance around the inevitable discomfort that may arise within them in any given moment or stressful encounter.

"With mindful practice they have avoided getting caught up in their insecurities and so limit the occurrence of impulsivity and acting out to eradicate their distress."