Psychology, Department of

Receive updates for this collection

Questioning Fairness: The Relationship of Mental Health and Psychopathic Characteristics with Young Offenders’ Perceptions of Procedural Justice and Legitimacy

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-06-13
Abstract: 

Background: Theories of procedural justice suggest that individuals who experience the processes and procedures used to make legal decisions as fair are more likely to perceive the legal system as legitimate, and in turn, less likely to offend.  When individuals come into contact with the legal system, however, they are not blank slates but have beliefs and personality characteristics that may systematically influence their perception of justice and legitimacy.  Aims: Our aim was to establish the extent to which personal characteristics, whether demographic, legal or clinical, influence the degree to which young people experience the justice system as fair and legitimate. Method: Self-report, file, and interview data were collected from 92 12-17 year-olds on probation in Western Canada. Results: There was some relationship between scores on the youth version of the psychopathy checklist and perceptions of fairness and legitimacy, and between substance misuse and the justice variables, but after taking all significant variables into consideration, history of major traumatic experience was the only one to be independently associated with perceptions of justice. Those in the youngest age group in our sample were more likely to have positive perceptions of justice than the older, but demographics and legal history otherwise seemed irrelevant. Conclusions:  Our findings suggest that examining personal qualities and experiences which may have a relationship the relationship with perceptions of procedural justice and legitimacy are worth exploring further. It may be that young people who do not accept the law as legitimate or the criminal justice system as fair could be more likely to offend.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Do Risk Assessment Tools Help to Manage and Reduce Risk of Violence and Reoffending? A Systematic Review

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-06
Abstract: 

Although it is widely believed that risk assessment tools can help manage risk of violence and offending, it is unclear what evidence exists to support this view.  As such, we conducted a systematic review and narrative synthesis.  To identify studies, we searched 13 databases, reviewed reference lists, and contacted experts.  Through this review, we identified 73 published and unpublished studies (N = 31,551 psychiatric patients and offenders, N = 10,002 professionals) that examined either professionals’ risk management efforts following the use of a tool, or rates of violence or offending following the implementation of a tool.  These studies included a variety of populations (e.g., adults, adolescents), tools, and study designs.    The primary findings were as follows: (1) despite some promising findings, professionals do not consistently adhere to tools or apply them to guide their risk management efforts; (2) following the use of a tool, match to the risk principle is moderate and match to the needs principle is limited, as many needs remained unaddressed; (3) there is insufficient evidence to conclude that tools directly reduce violence or reoffending, as findings are mixed; and (4) tools appear to have a more beneficial impact on risk management when agencies use careful implementation procedures and provide staff with training and guidelines related to risk management.  In sum, although risk assessment tools may be an important starting point, they do not guarantee effective treatment or risk management.  However, certain strategies may bolster their utility.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Primary Study Quality in Psychological Meta-Analyses: An Empirical Assessment of Recent Practice

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-01-09
Abstract: 

As meta-analytic research has come to occupy a sizeable contingent of published work in the psychological sciences, clarity in the reporting of such work is crucial to its interpretability and reproducibility. This is especially true regarding the assessment of primary study quality, as notions of study quality can vary across research domains. The present study examines the general state of reporting practices related to primary study quality in a sample of 382 published psychological meta-analyses, as well as the reporting decisions and motivations of the authors that published them. Our findings suggest adherence to reporting standards has remained poor for assessments of primary study quality and that the discipline remains inconsistent in its reporting practices generally. We discuss several potential reasons for the poor adherence to reporting standards in our sample, including whether quality assessments are being conducted in the first place, whether standards are well-known within the discipline, and the potential conflation of assessing primary study quality with other facets of conducting a meta-analysis. The implications of suboptimal reporting practices related to primary study quality are discussed.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Medication Adherence in Renal Transplant Recipients: A Latent Variable Model of Psychosocial and Neurocognitive Predictors

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-09-28
Abstract: 

Objective Estimates indicate that 20–70% of renal transplant recipients are medication non-adherent, significantly increasing the risk of organ rejection. Medication adherence is negatively impacted by lower everyday problem solving ability, and associations between depressive symptoms, self-efficacy, and adherence are reported in renal transplant recipients. Nonetheless, to date, these associations have not been examined concurrently. Given the relationship between non-adherence and organ rejection, it is critical to gain a better understanding of the predictors of adherence in renal transplant recipients. To this end, we modeled relationships among cognitive abilities, depressive symptoms, self-efficacy, and adherence in this group.

Methods Participants (N = 211) underwent renal transplant at least one year prior to participation. Adherence was measured via self-report, medication possession ratio, and immunosuppressant blood-level. Traditionally-measured neurocognitive and everyday problem-solving abilities were assessed. Depressive symptoms were measured via self-report, as were general and medication adherence related self-efficacy. Structural equation modeling was used to assess the fit of the model to available data.

ResultsEveryday problem solving and self-efficacy had direct positive associations with adherence. Depressive symptoms were negatively associated with self-efficacy, but not adherence. Traditionally-measured neurocognitive abilities were positively associated with self-efficacy, and negatively associated with depressive symptoms.

Conclusions We present a comprehensive investigation of relationships between cognitive and psychosocial factors and adherence in medically stable renal transplant recipients. Findings confirm the importance of everyday problem solving and self-efficacy in predicting adherence and suggest that influences of depressive symptoms and neurocognitive abilities are indirect. Findings have important implications for future development of interventions to improve medication adherence in renal transplant recipients.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

The Use of the SAVRY and YLS/CMI in Adolescent Court Proceedings: A Case Law Review

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-03-05
Abstract: 

Despite the continued growth of adolescent risk assessment tools, we do not know how these tools are being used in adolescent court cases or how this information influences legal decision making. To address this gap, we reviewed 50 Canadian, American, and international adolescent offender cases using the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth or Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory.  The results confirm that adolescent risk assessment tools are primarily introduced during sentencing or adult transfer proceedings.  Judges identified the specific risk and protective factors of youth in 36.2% and 19.0% of cases, respectively.  In terms of legal decision making, the risk assessment was either directly or indirectly referred to in 76.0% of cases; however, judges most often placed some weight on the risk assessment as a part of an enumerated list of other important factors.  Although risk assessments were generally considered admissible in these cases, some legal concerns were raised, particularly with the use of risk assessments to guide sentencing decisions.  

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Remorse, Psychopathology, and Psychopathy among Adolescent Offenders

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015
Abstract: 

Remorse has long been important to the juvenile justice system. However, the nature of this construct has not yet been clearly articulated, and little research has examined its relationships with other theoretically and legally relevant variables. The present study was intended to address these issues by examining relationships among remorse, psychopathology, and psychopathy in a sample of adolescent offenders (N = 97) using the theoretically and empirically established framework of guilt and shame (Tangney & Dearing, 2002). Findings indicated that shame was positively related to behavioural features of psychopathy, whereas guilt was negatively related to psychopathic characteristics more broadly. In addition, shame was positively associated with numerous mental health problems whereas guilt was negatively associated with anger, depression, and anxiety. These results provide empirical support for theory that psychopathy is characterized by lack of remorse (e.g., Hare, 1991), and also underscore shame and guilt as potentially important treatment targets for adolescent offenders.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Risk and Protective Factors for Recidivism Among Juveniles who have Offended Sexually

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013
Abstract: 

Literature on risk factors for recidivism among juveniles who have sexually offended (JSOs) is limited. In addition, there have been no studies published concerning protective factors among this population. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of risk and protective factors to sexual and nonsexual recidivism among a sample of 193 male JSOs (mean age = 15.26). Youth were followed for an average of 7.24 years following discharge from a residential sex offender treatment program. The risk factor opportunities to reoffend, as coded based on the ERASOR (Worling & Curwen, 2001), was associated with sexual recidivism. Several risk factors (e.g., prior offending; peer delinquency) were associated with nonsexual recidivism. No protective factors examined were associated with sexual recidivism, although strong attachments and bonds as measured by the SAVRY (Borum et al., 2006) was negatively related to nonsexual recidivism. These findings indicate that risk factors for nonsexual recidivism may be consistent across both general adolescent offender populations and JSOs, but that there may be distinct protective factors that apply to sexual recidivism among JSOs. Results also indicate important needs for further research on risk factors, protective factors, and risk management strategies for JSOs.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Incremental and Predictive Validity of the Antisocial Process Screening Device in a Community Sample of Male and Female Ethnic Minority and Caucasian Youth

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016
Abstract: 

The Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD) is a well-supported tool for assessing psychopathic features in youth. However, most research with the APSD has been derived from clinical and forensic samples comprised mainly of male Caucasian and African American adolescents. In this prospective study, the incremental and predictive validity of the self-report APSD for violent and non-violent offending was examined in an ethnically diverse community sample of male and female youth (N = 335) aged 12 to 14. High-school students from a moderate sized city in Western Canada completed the self-report APSD and then completed the Self-Report of Offending 6 months later. Receiver Operating Characteristics analysis indicated that APSD total and subscale scores were predictive of violent and non-violent offending at 6-month follow-up with moderate to large effect sizes. In addition, total scores on the APSD added incremental predictive utility above and beyond traditional criminogenic predictors of youth offending (i.e., prior offending, delinquent peer affiliation, poor school achievement, substance use, low parental monitoring). Although sex differences emerged in the predictive utility of the Impulsivity subscale of the APSD vis-à-vis violent offending, sex did not moderate the relationship between APSD total, Narcissism, or Callous/Unemotional scores and offending. In addition, the predictive utility of the APSD did not vary as a function of the youth’s ethnic background. These findings suggest that: (1) the self-report APSD may have utility for risk or threat assessment with normative school populations, (2) APSD findings from higher risk samples generalize to a lower risk sample of high-school youth, and (3) predictive utility of APSD total scores do not differ across male and female Caucasian and ethnic minority youth.  

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Procedural Justice Versus Risk Factors for Offending: Predicting Recidivism in Youth

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

Theories of procedural justice suggest that individuals who experience respectful and fair legal decision-making procedures are more likely to believe in the legitimacy of the law, and, in turn, are less likely to reoffend. However, few studies have examined these relationships in youth. To begin to fill this gap in the literature, in the current study the authors studied 92 youth (67 male, 25 female) on probation regarding their perceptions of procedural justice and legitimacy, and then monitored their offending over the subsequent six months. Results indicated that perceptions of procedural justice predicted self-reported offending at three months but not at six months, and that youths’ beliefs about the legitimacy of the law did not mediate this relationship. Furthermore, procedural justice continued to account for unique variance in self-reported offending over and above the predictive power of well-established risk factors for offending (i.e., peer delinquency, substance abuse, psychopathy, and age at first contact with the law). Theoretically, the current study provides evidence that models of procedural justice developed for adults are only partially replicated in a sample of youth; practically, this research suggests that by treating adolescents in a fair and just manner, justice professionals may be able to reduce the likelihood that adolescents will reoffend, at least in the short term. 

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Prediction of Adolescent Sexual Reoffending: A Meta-Analysis of the J-SOAP-II, ERASOR, J-SORRAT-II, and Static-99

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012-10
Abstract: 

Several risk assessment tools, including the Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol-II (Prentky & Righthand, 2003), the Estimate of Risk of Adolescent Sexual Offense Recidivism (Worling & Curwen, 2001), the Juvenile Sexual Offense Recidivism Risk Assessment Tool-II (Epperson, ralston, Fowers, DeWitt, & Gore, 2006), and the Static-99 (Hanson & Thornton, 1999), have been used to assess reoffense risk among adolescents who have committed sexual offenses. Given that research on these tools has yielded somewhat mixed results, we empirically synthesized 33 published and unpublished studies involving 6,196 male adolescents who had committed a sexual offense. We conducted two separate meta-analyses, first with correlations and then with AUCs. Total scores on each of the tools significantly predicted sexual reoffending, with aggregated correlations ranging from .12 - .20 and aggregated area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) scores ranging from .64 - .67. In many cases, however, heterogeneity across studies was moderate to high. There were no significant differences between tools, and although the Static-99 was developed for adults, it achieved similar results as the adolescent tools. To help interpret these findings, results are compared to other meta-analyses of risk tools used in the area of violence risk assessment and in other fields.

Document type: 
Article
File(s):