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Testing the validity of criminal risk assessment tools in sexually abusive youth


Barra, Steffen; Bessler, Cornelia; Landolt, Markus A; Aebi, Marcel (2018). Testing the validity of criminal risk assessment tools in sexually abusive youth. Psychological Assessment, 30(11):1430-1443.

Abstract

Although accurate risk appraisals are mandatory to provide effective treatment to juveniles who have sexually offended (JSOs), the current knowledge on the validity of risk assessment instruments for JSOs is inconclusive. We compared the predictive validities of the Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol II (J-SOAP II), the Estimate of Risk of Adolescent Sexual Offense Recidivism (ERASOR), and the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide-Revised (VRAG-R) scores concerning sexual, nonsexual-violent, and general criminal recidivism (based on both official and nonregistered reoffenses) in a consecutive sample of 597 male JSOs (Mage = 14.47 years, SDage = 1.57 years) while accounting for different recidivism periods, offense severities, and cumulative burden of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) curves and Cox regression analyses indicated that the tools allowed valid predictions of recidivism according to their intended purposes: The ERASOR was best suited to predict sexual recidivism within 0.5 and 3 years, the J-SOAP II was valid for predictions of sexual and nonsexual-violent recidivism within these recidivism periods, and the VRAG-R showed potential strengths in predicting nonsexual-violent recidivism, especially when committed above age 18. Elevated offense severity and burden of ACEs impeded predictive accuracies of the J-SOAP II and the VRAG-R, particularly in case of sexual recidivism. Our findings emphasize that risk assessment for JSOs must not rely solely on scores derived from risk assessment instruments, but a comprehensive consideration of a JSOs offense severity and psychosocial adversities is additionally necessary to approach accurate risk appraisals. (PsycINFO Database Record

Abstract

Although accurate risk appraisals are mandatory to provide effective treatment to juveniles who have sexually offended (JSOs), the current knowledge on the validity of risk assessment instruments for JSOs is inconclusive. We compared the predictive validities of the Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol II (J-SOAP II), the Estimate of Risk of Adolescent Sexual Offense Recidivism (ERASOR), and the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide-Revised (VRAG-R) scores concerning sexual, nonsexual-violent, and general criminal recidivism (based on both official and nonregistered reoffenses) in a consecutive sample of 597 male JSOs (Mage = 14.47 years, SDage = 1.57 years) while accounting for different recidivism periods, offense severities, and cumulative burden of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) curves and Cox regression analyses indicated that the tools allowed valid predictions of recidivism according to their intended purposes: The ERASOR was best suited to predict sexual recidivism within 0.5 and 3 years, the J-SOAP II was valid for predictions of sexual and nonsexual-violent recidivism within these recidivism periods, and the VRAG-R showed potential strengths in predicting nonsexual-violent recidivism, especially when committed above age 18. Elevated offense severity and burden of ACEs impeded predictive accuracies of the J-SOAP II and the VRAG-R, particularly in case of sexual recidivism. Our findings emphasize that risk assessment for JSOs must not rely solely on scores derived from risk assessment instruments, but a comprehensive consideration of a JSOs offense severity and psychosocial adversities is additionally necessary to approach accurate risk appraisals. (PsycINFO Database Record

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPsyc Erstautor
Language:English
Date:1 November 2018
Deposited On:09 Oct 2018 10:53
Last Modified:22 Jan 2019 10:02
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:1040-3590
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/pas0000590
PubMed ID:29792506

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