Psychology, Department of

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Are Adolescent Risk Assessment Tools Sensitive to Change? A Framework and Examination of the SAVRY and the YLS/CMI

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

Although many adolescent risk assessment tools include an emphasis on dynamic factors, little research has examined the extent to which these tools are capable of measuring change. In this article, we outline a framework to evaluate a tool’s capacity to measure change. This framework includes: (1) measurement error and reliable change, and (2) sensitivity (i.e., internal, external, and relative sensitivity). We then used this framework to evaluate the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) and Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI). Research assistants conducted 509 risk assessments with 146 adolescents on probation (101 male, 45 female), who were assessed every 3 months over a 1-year period. Internal sensitivity was partially supported, as a modest proportion of youth showed changes over time. External sensitivity (i.e., the association between change scores and reoffending) was also partially supported. In particular, 22% of the associations between change scores and any and violent reoffending were significant at a 6-month follow-up. However, only one change score (i.e., Peer Associations) remained significant after the Bonferroni correction was applied. Finally, relative sensitivity was not supported, as the SAVRY and YLS/CMI was not more dynamic than the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV). Specifically, the 1-year rank-order stability coefficients for the SAVRY, YLS/CMI, and PCL:YV Total Scores were .78, .75, and .76, respectively. Although the SAVRY and YLS/CMI hold promise, further efforts may help to enhance sensitivity to short-term changes in risk.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Changes in J-SOAP-II and SAVRY Scores Over the Course of Residential, Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Adolescent Sexual Offending

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-01
Abstract: 

Although the Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol-II (J-SOAP-II) and the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) include an emphasis on dynamic, or modifiable factors, there has been little research on dynamic changes on these tools. To help address this gap, we compared admission and discharge scores of 163 adolescents who attended a residential, cognitive-behavioral treatment program for sexual offending. Based on reliable change indices, one-half of youth showed a reliable decrease on the J-SOAP-II Dynamic Risk Total Score and one-third of youth showed a reliable decrease on the SAVRY Dynamic Risk Total Score. Contrary to expectations, decreases in risk factors and increases in protective factors did not predict reduced sexual, violent nonsexual, or any reoffending. In addition, no associations were found between scores on the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version and levels of change. Overall, the J-SOAP-II and the SAVRY hold promise in measuring change, but further research is needed.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Does Reassessment of Risk Improve Predictions? A Framework and Examination of the SAVRY and YLS/CMI

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-11
Abstract: 

Although experts recommend regularly reassessing adolescents' risk for violence, it is unclear whether reassessment improves predictions. Thus, in this prospective study, we tested three hypotheses as to why reassessment might improve predictions, namely the shelf-life, dynamic change, and familiarity hypotheses. Research assistants (RAs) rated youth on the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) and the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI) every three months over a one-year period, conducting 624 risk assessments with 156 youth on probation. We then examined charges for violence and any offence over a two-year follow-up period, and youths' self-reports of reoffending. Contrary to the shelf-life hypothesis, predictions did not decline or expire over time. Instead, time-dependent area under the curve scores remained consistent across the follow-up period. Contrary to the dynamic change hypothesis, changes in youth's risk total scores, compared to what is average for that youth, did not predict changes in reoffending. Finally, contrary to the familiarity hypothesis, reassessments were no more predictive than initial assessments, despite RAs' increased familiarity with youth. Before drawing conclusions, researchers should evaluate the extent to which youth receiving the usual probation services show meaningful short-term changes in risk and if so, whether risk assessment tools are sensitive to these changes.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

White Matter Deficits Assessed by Diffusion Tensor Imaging and Cognitive Dysfunction in Psychostimulant Users With Comorbid Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

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

Background

Psychostimulant drug use is commonly associated with drug-related infection, including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Both psychostimulant use and HIV infection are known to damage brain white matter and impair cognition. To date, no study has examined white matter integrity using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in chronic psychostimulant users with comorbid HIV infection, and determined the relationship of white matter integrity to cognitive function.

Methods

Twenty-one subjects (mean age 37.5 ± 9.0 years) with a history of heavy psychostimulant use and HIV infection (8.7 ± 4.3 years) and 22 matched controls were scanned on a 3T MRI. Fractional anisotropy (FA) values were calculated with DTI software. Four regions of interest were manually segmented, including the genu of the corpus callosum, left and right anterior limbs of the internal capsule, and the anterior commissure. Subjects also completed a neurocognitive battery and questionnaires about physical and mental health.

Results

The psychostimulant using, HIV positive group displayed decreased white matter integrity, with significantly lower FA values for all white matter tracts (p < 0.05). This group also exhibited decreased cognitive performance on tasks that assessed cognitive set-shifting, fine motor speed and verbal memory. FA values for the white matter tracts correlated with cognitive performance on many of the neurocognitive tests.

Conclusions

White matter integrity was thus impaired in subjects with psychostimulant use and comorbid HIV infection, which predicted worsened cognitive performance on a range of tests. Further study on this medical comorbidity is required.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

What’s in a Friendship? Partner Visibility Supports Cognitive Collaboration between Friends

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

Not all cognitive collaborations are equally effective. We tested whether friendship and communication influenced collaborative efficiency by randomly assigning participants to complete a cognitive task with a friend or non-friend, while visible to their partner or separated by a partition. Collaborative efficiency was indexed by comparing each pair’s performance to an optimal individual performance model of the same two people. The outcome was a strong interaction between friendship and partner visibility. Friends collaborated more efficiently than non-friends when visible to one another, but a partition that prevented pair members from seeing one another reduced the collaborative efficiency of friends and non-friends to a similar lower level. Secondary measures suggested that verbal communication differences, but not psychophysiological arousal, contributed to these effects. Analysis of covariance indicated that females contributed more than males to overall levels of collaboration, but that the interaction of friendship and visibility was independent of that effect. These findings highlight the critical role of partner visibility in the collaborative success of friends.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

James Legge and the Confucian Classics: Brilliant Scot in the Turmoil of Colonial Hong Kong

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015
Abstract: 

A biographical work on James Legge, concentrating on his life in Hong Kong during its most turbulent period 1842-1873.

Document type: 
Book
File(s): 

Self-discrepancies and negative affect: A primer on when to look for specificity, and how to find it

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

There is substantial evidence that discrepancies within the self-system produce emotional distress. However, whether specific types of discrepancy are related to different types of negative affect remains contentious. At the heart of self-discrepancy theory (SDT: Higgins, 1987, 1989) is the assumption that different types of discrepancies are related to distinctive emotional states, with discrepancies between the actual and ideal selves being uniquely related to dejection-related emotion and discrepancies between the actual and ought selves being uniquely related to agitation-related emotion. Research examining this proposition has demonstrated that the magnitudes of these discrepancies are substantially correlated. As a result, some researchers have questioned whether they are functionally independent (e.g., Tangney, Niedenthal, Covert, & Barlow, 1998). In addition, other researchers have failed to support the hypothesized unique relationships (e.g., Ozgul, Heubeck, Ward, & Wilkinson, 2003). Together these two types of research finding have been interpreted as presenting a challenge to SDT. It is our contention that this interpretation is inaccurate. In this paper, we review the assumptions made when testing for these distinct relationships. Specifically, we examine the necessary conditions under which the functional independence of discrepancies is apparent, and the statistical methods appropriate to test these relationships. We also comment on the measurement of self-discrepancies, and fundamental problems in the interpretation of null findings. We conclude that studies using appropriate methodological and statistical procedures have produced ample evidence that discriminant relationships exist, and we encourage researchers to further investigate the conditions under which these relationships are most apparent.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Depressive disorder in children and adolescents: Dysthymic disorder and the use of self-rating scales in assessment

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1984
Abstract: 

The authors describe a pilot study on depressed children and adolescents, where the DSM-III diagnosis on clinical interviews is compared to the results from two self-rating scales on 35 children and adolescents referred to the researchers. These 35 subjects were seen as depressed by their primary helpers. The value of the self-rating scales is mentioned and the usefulness of the category “dysthymic disorder” is commented upon.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Cognitive bias and depression in psychiatrically disturbed children and adolescents

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1985
Abstract: 

Developed a cognitive bias questionnaire for children (CBQC) to examine the relation between cognitive distortion and depression in 39 psychiatrically disturbed 8–16 yr olds. Results indicate that the Depressed–Distorted scale from the CBQC was significantly correlated with Ss' psychiatric and self-reported ratings of depression and could significantly discriminate affective from nonaffective disorders.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Affective disorders in children and adolescents: The dysthymic disorder dilemma

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1985
Abstract: 

Investigated the use of psychiatric ratings and self-report information in distinguishing major depression and dysthymic disorders from each other and from other disorders. 60 adolescent psychiatry patients (mean age 13.05 yrs) completed the Children's Depression Scale and a children's depression inventory, and the results were compared with those from diagnostic interviews using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) criteria. Findings suggest that diagnostic ratings and self-reports of depression contributed to the differential diagnosis of dysthymic disorder, major depression, and other psychiatric disorders. It is suggested that age-appropriate revision of DSM-III diagnostic symptoms may lead to greater consistency in diagnosing dysthymic disorder in young populations.

Document type: 
Article