Identifying Gender Specific Risk/Need Areas for Male and Female Juvenile Offenders: Factor Analyses With the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY)

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Abstract

By constructing risk assessment tools in which the individual items are organized in the same way for male and female juvenile offenders it is assumed that these items and subscales have similar relevance across males and females. The identification of criminogenic needs that vary in relevance for 1 of the genders, could contribute to more meaningful risk assessments, especially for female juvenile offenders. In this study, exploratory factor analyses (EFA) on a construction sample of male (n = 3,130) and female (n = 466) juvenile offenders were used to aggregate the 30 items of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) into empirically based risk/need factors and explore differences between genders. The factor models were cross-validated through confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) on a validation sample of male (n = 2,076) and female (n = 357) juvenile offenders. In both the construction sample and the validation sample, 5 factors were identified: (a) Antisocial behavior; (b) Family functioning; (c) Personality traits; (d) Social support; and (e) Treatability. The male and female models were significantly different and the internal consistency of the factors was good, both in the construction sample and the validation sample. Clustering risk/need items for male and female juvenile offenders into meaningful factors may guide clinicians in the identification of gender-specific treatment interventions.

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