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Comparing theories' performance in predicting violence


Haas, Henriette; Cusson, Maurice (2015). Comparing theories' performance in predicting violence. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 38(1):1-9.

Abstract

The stakes of choosing the best theory as a basis for violence prevention and offender rehabilitation are high.
However, no single theory of violence has ever been universally accepted by a majority of established
researchers. Psychiatry, psychology and sociology are each subdivided into different schools relying upon
different premises. All theories can produce empirical evidence for their validity, some of them stating
the opposite of each other. Calculating different models with multivariate logistic regression on a dataset of
N = 21,312 observations and ninety-two influences allowed a direct comparison of the performance of
operationalizations of some of the most important schools. The psychopathology model ranked as the best
model in terms of predicting violence right after the comprehensive interdisciplinary model. Next came the
rational choice and lifestyle model and third the differential association and learning theory model. Othermodels
namely the control theory model, the childhood-traumamodel and the social conflict and reaction model turned
out to have low sensitivities for predicting violence. Nevertheless, all models produced acceptable results in
predictions of a non-violent outcome.

The stakes of choosing the best theory as a basis for violence prevention and offender rehabilitation are high.
However, no single theory of violence has ever been universally accepted by a majority of established
researchers. Psychiatry, psychology and sociology are each subdivided into different schools relying upon
different premises. All theories can produce empirical evidence for their validity, some of them stating
the opposite of each other. Calculating different models with multivariate logistic regression on a dataset of
N = 21,312 observations and ninety-two influences allowed a direct comparison of the performance of
operationalizations of some of the most important schools. The psychopathology model ranked as the best
model in terms of predicting violence right after the comprehensive interdisciplinary model. Next came the
rational choice and lifestyle model and third the differential association and learning theory model. Othermodels
namely the control theory model, the childhood-traumamodel and the social conflict and reaction model turned
out to have low sensitivities for predicting violence. Nevertheless, all models produced acceptable results in
predictions of a non-violent outcome.

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1 citation in Web of Science®
1 citation in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Theories Performance Violence Prediction Cross-sectional study Psychopathology
Language:English
Date:28 January 2015
Deposited On:29 Jan 2015 13:49
Last Modified:06 Jul 2016 07:39
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0160-2527
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2015.01.010
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-107621

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