PSYC 2400 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Inter-Rater Reliability, Construct Validity, Risk Assessment

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11 Dec 2016
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LECTURE NOTE“ WEEK 9
RISK ASSESSMENT
WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
The public sure does. Always a hot topic!
Risk assessment informs:
o Sentencing (especially D.O. hearings), classification, treatment needs, treatment intensity, parole
decisions, level of superisio, otifiatio deisios, release oditios…
Risk prediction assess the risk that people will commit violence in the future
Risk management develop effective intervention strategies to manage that risk
GOALS OF RISK ASSESSMENT
Improve accuracy
Improve transparency
Improve consistency
WHAT DO WE CONSIDER IN A RISK ASSESSMENT?
Risk Factors a variable that is related to recidivism
Static Risk Factors
o Fixed and unchanging
o Most convenient
o Most frequently used
o Can be reliably measured and are very predictive
o Examples; demographic variables, history of criminal behavior, history of mental disorder
Dynamic Risk Factors
o Change with time
o Less convenient, less reliable
o Less frequently used
o BUT: sensitive to change. With intervention, can change level of risk
o Examples, 2 main types; stable dynamic (persistent and change slowly if at all ex; being
introverted), acute dynamic (rapidly fluctuating, ex; mood)
BIG 4 RIK FACTOR
Criminal history
Procriminal personality (impulsive, aggressive)
Procriminal attitudes
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Procriminal associates
Mostly dynamic
NOT RISK FACTORS
These variables are commonly mistaken for risk factors
o Low SES
o Personal distress/psychopathology
o Also includes low self-esteem or depression
o Fear of punishment
o Verbal intelligence
o Remorse/empathy
o Offence severity
APPROACHES
Unstructured clinical judgment
Actuarial tools
Structured professional judgment
UNSTRUCTURED CLINICAL JUDGMENT
Subjectively select, analyze, and interpret risk factors
Advantages
o Flexible
o Idiographic individual centered, unique
Disadvantages
o Inconsistent subjective, influenced by biases of the evaluator
o Low accuracy
Bad approach
ACTUARIAL TOOLS
Collect pre-specified risk factors and enter them into a statistical model that combines and weights them
Advantages
o Consistent
o High accuracy
Disadvantages
o Nomothetic broad
o Validity across different samples
Actuarial Example: VRAG
o Quinsey et al. (2001)
Consists of 12 weighted static risk factors
Added together to give overall probability of risk
o VRAG Factors
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PCL-R score (+)
Elementary school problems (+)
Personality disorder (+)
Separated from parents (+)
Failure on prior release (+)
Alcohol abuse (+)
Nonviolent offense history (+)
Never married (+)
Schizophrenia (-)
Victim injury (-)
Female victim (-)
Age (-)
o VRAG Administration
Code presence of risk factors
Total the scores
Assign individual to 1 of 9 bins
Estimate probability of violence
o VRAG Risk ratings
STRUCTURED PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT
Collect pre-specified risk factors while adding in any case specific details
Final assessment of risk is a clinical judgment (informed by empirical risk factors)
Advantages
o Flexible
o Nomothetic (anchored to empirical factors)-Idiographic
Disadvantages
o Moderate accuracy (clinical judgment)
o Less consistent than actuarial
SPJ Example: HCR-20
o Webster et al. (1997)
10 historical factors
5 clinical factors
5 risk management factors
Any other case-specific factors
SPJ Example: HCR-20 Historical Factors *not on exam
o Previous violence
o Young age at first violence
o Relationship instability
o Employment problems
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