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MeSH Review

Acting Out

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Psychiatry related information on Acting Out

  • It appears that serotonin plays a role in multiple psychopathologies, including anxiety, depression, mood disorders, aggressive acting out, alcohol-related syndromes, and disinhibitory disorders characterized by impulsivity [1].
  • 49 college men and 45 women were administered the 1995 MMPI-TRI by Swanson, Templer, Thomas-Dobson, Cannon, Streiner, Reynolds, and Miller and a short form of the MMPI with scales for Subjective Distress, Acting-out, and Psychosis [2].
  • It is likely that in 1965 when Dr. Michel Jouvet placed bilateral peri-locus coeruleus lesions in cats and observed REM sleep without atonia (RWA) and "oneiric" behavior that could only be explained by "acting out dreams" (or "dreaming out acts"), he recognized that it was an important observation, but had little inkling of its true significance [3].

High impact information on Acting Out

  • Medroxyprogesterone acetate as a treatment for sexual acting out in organic brain syndrome [4].
  • Within 2 weeks of the start of MPA therapy, the sexual acting out had stopped; this was associated with a 90% and a 60% decline, respectively, of serum testosterone and LH [5].
  • Scales representing the lost child, the acting out child, and the mascot were highly intercorrelated, but use of the placater role was relatively unrelated to the other roles [6].
  • The results of the present study support the generalizability of earlier findings from alcoholic impulsive offenders: in males, low blood glucose is associated with an extrovert and impulsive, acting-out behavior that includes the breaking of societal norms and rules [7].
  • The present case illustrates a diagnostic and clinical problem, deciding between histrionic behavior, suicidal acting out, REM-sleep behavioral disorder, and SW; and assessing the risk of suicide during SW [8].

Chemical compound and disease context of Acting Out

  • Extensor M seems to tap a propensity for acting-out, while flexor and blocked M do not differentiate the two groups of children [9].
  • Women had significant correlations between scores on the Acting-out Scale and scores on measures of Sexual Sensation Seeking .57, Sexual Compulsion .54, Anger Control -.40, Anger-out .50, Anger-in .32, and Drug Use .40 [2].
  • The acquisition of temporal event referencing, encoded by the temporal connectives: then, before, after, when, while, together, until, and since in English, Thai and Lisu was investigated using two acting-out comprehension tasks, a Marble task and a Toy task [10].
  • While opiate addicts were characterized by acting-out traits, rebelliousness, depression, anxiety, alienation, and hyperactivity, the cocaine free-basers were characterized by similar traits, but at modulated levels of severity [11].
  • For example, higher levels of androstenedione in boys were related to higher levels of acting-out behavior problems [12].

Biological context of Acting Out


Gene context of Acting Out

  • Exceptions were on the Acting-out scale, where the ADHD group scored highest and on the Social Insight scale, where no significant difference was found between the PDDNOS group and the ADHD group [14].
  • Test-retest reliability of the Hand Test with acting-out adolescent subjects [15].
  • The purpose of this study was to assess the utility of the Bender-Gestalt Test as a measure of acting-out, withdrawal, and anxiety tendencies in adolescents [16].
  • Level of testosterone-estradiol binding globulin was negatively related to sad affect and acting out behavior [12].
  • Weekends and holidays and acting-out behavior of developmentally delayed women: a reply to Dr. Mark Flynn [17].


  1. The new generation of serotonergic anxiolytics: possible clinical roles. Eison, M.S. Psychopathology. (1989) [Pubmed]
  2. A validity study of the MMPI-TRI Acting-out Scale. Schill, T. Psychological reports. (1997) [Pubmed]
  3. Rem sleep without atonia--from cats to humans. Mahowald, M.W., Schenck, C.H. Archives italiennes de biologie. (2004) [Pubmed]
  4. Medroxyprogesterone acetate as a treatment for sexual acting out in organic brain syndrome. Cooper, A.J. The American journal of psychiatry. (1988) [Pubmed]
  5. Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) treatment of sexual acting out in men suffering from dementia. Cooper, A.J. The Journal of clinical psychiatry. (1987) [Pubmed]
  6. The survival roles of children of alcoholics: their measurement and validity. Devine, C., Braithwaite, V. Addiction (1993) [Pubmed]
  7. Associations between plasma glucose and DSM-III-R cluster B personality traits in psychiatric outpatients. Svanborg, P., Mattila-Evenden, M., Gustavsson, P.J., Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Asberg, M. Neuropsychobiology (2000) [Pubmed]
  8. Fear of suicide during sleepwalking. Lauerma, H. Psychiatry. (1996) [Pubmed]
  9. Rorschach human movement responses of acting-out and withdrawn adolescents. Schlesinger, L.B. Perceptual and motor skills. (1978) [Pubmed]
  10. The acquisition of temporal reference cross-linguistically using two acting-out comprehension tasks. Winskel, H. Journal of psycholinguistic research. (2004) [Pubmed]
  11. Psychological functioning of cocaine free-basers derived from objective psychological tests. Craig, R.J. Journal of clinical psychology. (1988) [Pubmed]
  12. Hormones, emotional dispositions, and aggressive attributes in young adolescents. Susman, E.J., Inoff-Germain, G., Nottelmann, E.D., Loriaux, D.L., Cutler, G.B., Chrousos, G.P. Child development. (1987) [Pubmed]
  13. Medroxyprogesterone acetate, nocturnal penile tumescence, laboratory arousal, and sexual acting out in a male with schizophrenia. Cooper, A.J., Losztyn, S., Russell, N.C., Cernovsky, Z. Archives of sexual behavior. (1990) [Pubmed]
  14. The children's Social Behavior Questionnaire for milder variants of PDD problems: evaluation of the psychometric characteristics. Luteijn, E., Luteijn, F., Jackson, S., Volkmar, F., Minderaa, R. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. (2000) [Pubmed]
  15. Test-retest reliability of the Hand Test with acting-out adolescent subjects. McGiboney, G.W., Carter, C. Perceptual and motor skills. (1982) [Pubmed]
  16. Bender-Gestalt signs as indicants of anxiety, withdrawal, and acting-out behaviors in adolescents. McCormick, T.T., Brannigan, G.G. The Journal of psychology. (1984) [Pubmed]
  17. Weekends and holidays and acting-out behavior of developmentally delayed women: a reply to Dr. Mark Flynn. Hicks-Caskey, W.E., Potter, D.R. Perceptual and motor skills. (1992) [Pubmed]
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