Risk factors for approach behavior toward the u.s. congress

Mario J. Scalora, Jerome V. Baumgartner, William Zimmerman, David Callaway, Mary A. Hatch Maillette, Christmas N. Covell, Russell E. Palarea, Jason A. Krebs, David O. Washington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Recent attention within the risk assessment literature has focused upon the nature of targeted violence (i.e., threat assessment). The present study analyzes 316 cases of threatening and inappropriate contacts toward members of the U.S. Congress and their staffs, with an in-depth analysis concerning the role pre-contact (e.g., prior threat, non-approach contact) and contact behaviors may have in influencing subsequent problematic approach. Contrary to previous research, nearly half of the approachers engaged in pre-approach contacts toward the tar-get. Those subjects engaging in approach behavior were more likely to have had a history of prior contact with other federal law enforcement agencies, to utilize multiple methods of contact, and were less likely to have articulated threats prior to approach. Among those subjects engaging in physical approach toward a protectee, risk factors for pre-approach contacts also mirrored many of the approach risk factors, suggesting a subgroup of approachers who engage in more intensive contact behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-55
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Threat Assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003


  • Approach behavior
  • Risk assessment
  • Threat assessment
  • U.S. congress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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