Applying a forensic actuarial assessment (the violence risk appraisal guide) to nonforensic patients

  • Harris G
  • Rice M
  • Camilleri J
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Abstract

The actuarial Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) was developed for male offenders where it has shown excellent replicability in many new forensic samples using officially recorded outcomes. Clinicians also make decisions, however, about the risk of interpersonal violence posed by nonforensic psychiatric patients of both sexes. Could an actuarial risk assessment developed for male forensic populations be used for a broader clientele? We modified the VRAG to permit evaluation using data from the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study that included nonforensic male and female patients and primarily self-reported violence. The modified VRAG yielded a large effect size in the prediction of dichotomous postdischarge severe violence over 20 and 50 weeks. Accuracy of VRAG predictions was unrelated to sex. The results provide evidence about the robustness of comprehensive actuarial risk assessments and the generality of the personal factors that underlie violent behavior.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Actuarial
  • Civil psychiatric patients
  • MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study
  • Prediction
  • Violence risk assessment

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Authors

  • Grant T. Harris

  • Marnie E. Rice

  • Joseph A. Camilleri

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