The Dimensions of Dangerousness Revisited: Assessing Forensic Predictions About Violence

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Abstract

In this article, we extend our previous study on clinical predictions of violence using the Dangerous Behavior Rating Scale by increasing follow-up interval from 2 to 6 years and supplying new data on prediction-outcome correlations for multidiscipline assessors. A total of 162 accused persons remanded for evaluations at METFORS were assessed using three criterion measures: subsequent violence, criminality, and general incidents. Statistical analyses revealed a range of predictive performance, contingent on several conditions including the identities of evaluators, categories of subjects, and length and context of follow-up. Even prognostications yielding the highest magnitude coefficients, reaching .53 in the case of psychometric forecasts of behavior in psychiatric hospitals, failed to account for more than 28% of the prediction-outcome covariance. Implications of the results are considered for the future role of the dangerousness construct.

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