Assessing risk of reoffending in adolescents who have committed a sexual offense: The accuracy of clinical judgments after completion of risk assessment instruments

Natasha Elkovitch, Jodi L. Viljoen, Mario J. Scalora, Daniel Ullman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

As courts often rely on clinicians when differentiating between sexually abusive youth at a low versus high risk of reoffense, understanding factors that contribute to accuracy in assessment of risk is imperative. The present study built on existing research by examining (1) the accuracy of clinical judgments of risk made after completing risk assessment instruments, (2) whether instrument-informed clinical judgments made with a high degree of confidence are associated with greater accuracy, and (3) the risk assessment instruments and subscales most predictive of clinical judgments. Raters assessed each youth's (n = 166) risk of reoffending after completing the SAVRY and J-SOAP-II. Raters were not able to predict detected cases of either sexual recidivism or nonsexual violent recidivism above chance, and a high degree of rater confidence was not associated with higher levels of accuracy. Total scores on the J-SOAP-II were predictive of instrument-informed clinical judgments of sexual risk, and total scores on the SAVRY of nonsexual risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-528
Number of pages18
JournalBehavioral Sciences and the Law
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

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