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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78339 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Clinical Prediction of Violent Behavior
Author(s): J Monahan
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 143
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Superintendent of Documents, GPO
Washington, DC 20402
US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare
Washington, DC 20203
Contract Number: 282-77-0176-KS
Sale Source: Superintendent of Documents, GPO
Washington, DC 20402
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Statistics
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This monograph is intended to assist practicing mental health professionals in understanding the issues involved in violence prediction so that they may improve the appropriateness and accuracy of their clinical predictions.
Abstract: Noting that the prediction of violent behavior has played an important role throughout legal history, the monograph defines violent behavior and describes three current major criticisms of violence prediction by mental health professionals: that violence cannot be predicted with any satisfactory level of accuracy, that any attempt to do so violates the civil liberties of the subjects, and that the societal protection function is at variance with the traditional helping role of the mental health professions. The monograph examines the concepts of predictor and criterion variables, outcomes of positive and negative prediction, decision rules, and base rates. It presents a model of the clinical prediction process and outlines variables that psychiatrists and psychologists rely upon to predict violent behavior. Common clinical errors in prediction such as lack of attention to base rates of violent behavior and reliance upon erroneous predictor items are described. In addition, a review of research on clinical prediction is presented that underscores both the importance of past violence as a predictor of future violence and the problem of accuracy in predicting violent behavior among institutionalized populations. Two additional approaches to improving the accuracy of clinical predictions are depicted: the incorporation of statistical concepts into clinical decisionmaking and the increased emphasis on situational or environmental predictors of violence such as a disturbance or deficit in family, peer, or job-support systems. Finally, a model format for the clinical prediction of violence is proposed that offers 14 questions for the clinician to consider in making a prediction of violent behavior. A hypothetical case study is used to describe how such questions might be answered, and a clinical report, based upon these answers, is presented. Tables and figures are given. A bibliography of 130 references is appended.
Index Term(s): Aggression; Criminality prediction; Dangerousness; Forensic psychiatry; Forensic psychology; Psychological evaluation; Statistical analysis; Violence
Note: Crime and Delinquency Issues - A Monograph Series.
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