Predictive Validity of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) among a Sample of Asian Canadian Youth on Probation

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Li, S. M. Y., Viljoen, J. L., Christiansen, A. K., & Muir, N. M. (2020). Predictive validity of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) among a sample of Asian Canadian youth on probation. Law and Human Behavior, 44(6), 485–501. https://doi.org/10.1037/lhb0000431

Date created: 
2020-11-09
Identifier: 
DOI: 10.1037/lhb0000431
Keywords: 
SAVRY
Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth
Risk assessment
Predictive validity
Recidivism
Asian Canadian
Abstract: 

Objective: Although past studies suggest that the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY; Borum et al., 2006) has moderate predictive validity, its predictive validity with Asian youth in Western countries is unknown. We therefore compared the SAVRY’s predictive validity in a sample of Asian Canadian versus White Canadian youth.

Hypotheses: Given that the SAVRY is normed on samples comprising mostly youth who are White, we expected its predictive validity for recidivism would be lower for Asian Canadians than White Canadians.

Method: We examined youth probation officers’ SAVRY assessments for 573 youth (445 White Canadians, 56 East/Southeast Asian Canadians, and 72 South Asian Canadians) on community supervision (i.e., probation) in a Canadian province. Youth were prospectively followed for an average of 1.97 years (SD = 0.56 years) to determine if they were subsequently charged with violent or non-violent offenses.

Results: Asian Canadians scored significantly lower on Risk Total scores compared to White Canadians. Predictive validity for violent and non-violent recidivism fell in the medium to large range for East/Southeast Asian Canadians (AUCs = .69 to .89) and South Asian Canadians (AUCs = .64 to .83). In comparison, predictive validity for White Canadians was generally lower (AUCs = .63 to .77; small to large range). Risk Total scores and non-violent risk ratings significantly predicted non-violent recidivism better for East/Southeast Asian Canadians (AUCs = .89 and .87, respectively) than White Canadians (AUCs = .77 and .71, respectively). Despite few significant differences between Asian subgroups, predictive validity for non-violent risk ratings was significantly higher in East/Southeast Asian Canadians (AUC = .87) than South Asian Canadians (AUC = .64).

Conclusions: The SAVRY may be a useful tool for predicting recidivism with Asian Canadians. However, future research should examine the SAVRY’s predictive validity for youth of Asian descent in different countries and contexts.

Language: 
English
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Article
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