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Risk assessment: ‘numbers' and ‘values’

  • George Szmukler (a1)
Extract

Risk assessment has two components, which I shall term ‘numbers' and ‘values'. ‘Numbers' refer to the estimation of the likelihood that an adverse event will occur in a stated period of time. The methods are mathematical and statistical. ‘Values' refer to the processes of attaching a value to the risk and deciding what should be done about it. Benefits are weighed against costs in what is largely a moral enterprise. Maden (2003, this issue) asks ‘why all the fuss?’ about standardised risk assessment. My fuss is largely about the ‘values', not so much about the ‘numbers'.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Buchanan, A. & Leese, M. (2001) Detention of people with dangerous severe personality disorders: a systematic review. Lancet, 358, 19551959.
Maden, A. (2003) Standardised risk assessment: why all the fuss? Psychiatric Bulletin, 27, 201204.
Monahan, J., Steadman, H. J., Silver, E., et al (2001) Rethinking Risk Assessment: The MacArthur Study of Mental Disorder and Violence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Szmukler, G. (2001) Violence risk prediction in practice. British Journal of Psychiatry, 178, 8485
Szmukler, G. & Holloway, F. (2000) Reform of the Mental Health Act: Health or safety? British Journal of Psychiatry, 177, 196200.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Risk assessment: ‘numbers' and ‘values’

  • George Szmukler (a1)
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