Katarina Howner´s research group

Our research group, Forensic Behavioural and Neuroscience (FBN), conduct projects that in various ways relate to the link between mental disorder, violence and norm-breaking behaviors. By examining individual factors, such as psychiatric conditions and personality traits, as well as various environmental factors, we try to understand what leads to the use of force and other antisocial behaviors.

Portrait of Katarina Howner
Katarina Howner. Photo: Hanna Maxstad

One goal is to identify risk and protection factors for violence in order to develop effective treatment methods adapted to the individual and thus prevent recidivism and, by extension, reduce the practice of violence. Our field is interdisciplinary and we have employees from different backgrounds and different fields, such as law, psychiatry, psychology and neuroscience.  

Collaborations

We work closely with the research group Forensic Epidemiology, with whom we also share research environment, and Rättsmedicinalverket (the National Board of Forensic Medicine).

Furthermore, we have active collaborations with Stockholms Universitet (Juridicum, Department of Psychology and SUBIC), Region Stockholm and Rättspsykiatrisk vård Stockholm, Institutionsstyrelsen (SiS), CELAM at Göteborgs universitet, Ersta Sköndal Bräcke högskola and Stiftelsen Allmänna Barnhuset. 

Research projects

From Gene to Brain – Different Aspects of The Concept of Psychopathy (GeBra I & II)

GeBra I is a cross-sectional study involving clients within the Prison Service with the aim of investigating connections between specific candidate genes, personality traits and neuropsychological functions with a particular focus on psychopathic traits and behaviors. GeBra II is a newly started brain imagingstudy aimed at investigating biological correlates in the brain linked to psychopathic traits in the normal population.

The triarctic model of psychopathy linked to fearless temperament and empathy (TriFE)

TriFE is a PhD project in the early 1990s where the aim is to investigate the ability to interpret and identify emotions and cardiac variability in the case of stress in inmates undergoing a forensic psychiatric examination.

Stockholm Forensic Psychiatry Project (SPRätt)

SPRätt is an ongoing study comparing  three different groups of individuals; those with psychosis spectrum diagnoses who have behaved violently, those with psychosis spectrum diagnoses who do not have ahistory  of violence, and healthy people in society. The project utilizes brain imaging in the form of functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), measures of skin conductance in various exercises and analysis of facial echoes during various cognition and social cognition tests.  The goal is to provide healthcare with tools to become better at identifying and treating individuals before acts of violence are committed.

Children in parental conflict - children and parents' health

This is a planned register study to highlight the health of children and parents in connection with a custody conflict. The purpose of the study is to identify the group of parents who, in connection with divorce, are in dispute over custody of joint children. Furthermore, the study aims to identify risk factors for custody conflicts and violence related to separation and divorce, as well as to investigate the short- and long-term effects of separation and divorce in families with underage children.

Longitudinal interview study conducted with girls taken into forced-care, on their experiences in care and treatment at SiS

This study aims to investigate the experience of care and treatment during the stay at SiS among girls, 15-18 years of age, placed in LVU treatment centers. The intention is to investigate how the girls perceive their situation as placed, and about the experience of being cared for in private. In addition, we will investigate what experiences the girls bring when they are discharged from SiS, by conducting follow-up interviews about six months after the girls have been discharged from SiS.

Partner violence

Within this theme, the conducted research projects aim to investigate the extent and characteristics of deadly partner violence in Sweden between 1990 and 2017. This project also includes studying other deadly violence against women  to investigate the development of deadly violence against women, as well as identifying typologies of perpetrators based on information on the perpetrator, victims and perpetrators. Another project, based on qualitative interviews, examines how partner rapists reason regarding problems of violence, need for help, susceptibility to and experience of interventions. The project is based on in-depth interviews with both prosecuted and volunteer applicants.

Funding

Our research is funded by grants from:

  • Rättsmedicinalverket
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Socialstyrelsen
  • SiS

Publications

Katarina Howner´s publications in PubMed

Criminal Careers Among Female Perpetrators of Family and Nonfamily Homicide in Australia. Eriksson L, McPhedran S, Caman S, Mazerolle P, Wortley R. and Johnson H. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(5-6) 2021

Psychotically driven aggression is associated with greater mentalizing challenges in psychotic spectrum disorders. Johansson A GM, Källman M, Högman L, Kristiansson M, Fischer H & Bölte S. BMC Psychiatry 20, 470, 2020.

Impaired facial emotion perception of briefly presented double masked stimuli in violent offenders with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Högman L, Kristiansson M, Fischer H, Johansson A GM. Schizophrenia Research: Cognition, Volume 19, March 2020.

Editorial: What Works for Forensic Psychiatric Patients: From Treatment Evaluations to Short and Long-Term Outcomes. Howner, K., Hofvander, B., and Tapp, J. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11, 615473–615473. 2020.

Psychopathy-associated personality traits influence crime-scene behavior in male homicide offenders. Rodre S, Hedlund J, Liljeberg J, Kristiansson M, Masterman T, Sturup J. Nord J Psychiatry. Nov;73(8):471-474, 2019.

The Relevance of ADHD Symptoms and Cognitive Functions for Psychopathy Using the PCL-R and the TriPM. Pauli M, Liljeberg J, Gustavsson P, Kristiansson M & Howner K. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology. 4 Jan 2019

Differentiating intimate partner homicide from other homicide: A Swedish population-based study of perpetrator, victim and incident characteristics. Caman S, Howner K, Kristiansson M, Sturup J. Psychology of violence 7:2:306-315, 2017

Trends in rates and characteristics of intimate partner homocides between 1990 and 2013. Caman S, Granath S, Kristiansson M, Sturup J. Journal of Criminal Justice 49:14-21, 2017.

Publications in Swedish

Från gen till hjärna. Howner K, Pauli M, Liljeberg J, Alonso HÖ. Norrköping: Kriminalvården Digitaltryck 2020, ISBN: 978-91-89067-00-4. 

SBU. Behandling och bedömning i rättspsykiatrisk vård. En kartläggning av systematiska översikter. Stockholm: Statens beredning för medicinsk och social utvärdering (SBU); 2017. SBU-rapport nr 264. ISBN 978-91-88437-06-8.

SBU. Läkemedelsbehandling inom rättspsykiatrisk vård. En systematisk översikt och utvärdering av medicinska, hälsoekonomiska, sociala och etiska aspekter. Stockholm: Statens beredning för medicinsk och social utvärdering (SBU); 2018. SBU-rapport nr 286. ISBN 978-91-88437-28-0.

Group members