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Predicting future violence among individuals with psychopathy

  • Jeremy W. Coid (a1), Simone Ullrich (a1) and Constantinos Kallis (a1)
Summary

Structured risk assessment aims to help clinicians classify offenders according to likelihood of future violent and criminal behaviour. We investigated how confident clinicians can be using three commonly used instruments (HCR-20, VRAG, OGRS-II) in individuals with different diagnoses. Moderate to good predictive accuracy for future violence was achieved for released prisoners with no mental disorder, low to moderate for clinical syndromes and personality disorder, but accuracy was no better than chance for individuals with psychopathy. Comprehensive diagnostic assessment should precede an assessment of risk. Risk assessment instruments cannot be relied upon when managing public risk from individuals with psychopathy.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Jeremy W. Coid, Queen Mary University London, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Forensic Psychiatry Research Unit, William Harvey House, 61 Bartholomew Close, London EC1A 7BE, UK. Email: j.w.coid@qmul.ac.uk
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Hart, SD, Michie, C., Cooke, DJ. Precision of actuarial risk assessment instruments: Evaluating the ‘margins of error’ of group v. individual predictions of violence. Br J Psychiatry 2007; 190 (suppl 49): s605.
2 Coid, J., Yang, M., Ullrich, S., Zhang, T., Sizmur, S., Farrington, DP, et al. Most items in structured risk assessment instruments do not predict violence. J Forensic Psychiatr Psychol 2011; 22: 321.
3 Singh, JP, Grann, M., Fazel, S. A comparative study of violence risk assessment tools: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis of 68 studies involving 25,980 participants. Clin Psychol Rev 2011; 31: 499513.
4 Coid, J., Yang, M. The impact of psychopathy on violence among the household population of Great Britain. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 2010; 46: 473–80.
5 Gray, NS, Taylor, J., Snowden, RJ. Predicting violence using structured professional judgment in patients with different mental and behavioural disorders. Psychiatry Res 2011; 187: 248–53.
6 Coid, J., Yang, M., Ullrich, S., Zhang, T., Sizmur, S., Roberts, C., et al. Gender differences in structured risk assessment: comparing the accuracy of five instruments. J Consult Clin Psychol 2009; 7: 337–48.
7 Quinsey, VL, Harris, GT, Rice, ME, Cormier, CA. Violent Offenders: Appraising and Managing Risk. American Psychological Association, 1998.
8 Webster, CD, Douglas, KS, Eaves, D., Hart, SD. Assessing Risk of Violence (Version 2). Mental Health Law and Policy Institute, Simon Fraser University, 1997.
9 Taylor, R. Predicting Reconviction for Sexual and Violent Offences using the Revised Offender Group Reconviction Scale. Home Office, 1999.
10 Glover, A., Nicholson, D., Hemmati, T., Bernfield, G., Quinsey, V. A comparison of predictions of general and violent recidivism among high risk federal offenders. Crim Justice Behav 2002; 29: 235–49.
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Predicting future violence among individuals with psychopathy

  • Jeremy W. Coid (a1), Simone Ullrich (a1) and Constantinos Kallis (a1)
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