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

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Viljoen, J.L., Gray, A.L., Shaffer, C., Bhanwer, A., Tafreshi, D., Douglas, K.S. (2016). Does reassessment of risk improve predictions? A framework and examination of the SAVRY and YLS/CMI. Psychological Assessment, Nov 7, 2016, no pagination. doi:10.1037/pas0000402

Date created: 
2016-11
Keywords: 
Risk assessment
Dynamic factors
Adolescent
Violence
Offending
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.

Description: 
Author Note
Jodi L. Viljoen, Andrew L. Gray, Catherine Shaffer, Aisha Bhanwer, Donna Tafreshi, and Kevin S. Douglas, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University.
This research was supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and a Career Investigator Award for the first author from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.
Correspondence concerning this article should be address to Jodi Viljoen, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6. Contact: jviljoen@sfu.ca
Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
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Rights remain with the author(s).
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Sponsor(s): 
Social Sciences and humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
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