Although case formulation and scenario planning are elements included in many structured professional judgment (SPJ) decision support aids, the utility of these steps in the development of risk management plans have been understudied. This pilot study examined whether the inclusion of case formulation and scenarios in risk assessment reports prepared according to the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide – Version 3 (SARA-V3) helped evaluators provide risk management recommendations and Conclusory Opinions that were in greater agreement with gold standard ratings. Mental health professionals, law enforcement officers, and victim service workers (N = 106) involved in the assessment and management of intimate partner violence cases were randomly assigned one of ten intimate partner violence case summaries and to one of two conditions: (1) a risk assessment report including a description of the present and relevant risk factors, and (2) a risk assessment report including a description of the present and relevant risk factors, a case formulation, and scenarios of future violence. Evaluators were asked to make risk management decisions about the case they reviewed and indicate how confident they felt about their risk management judgments. Results showed minimal differences between evaluators in the two study conditions. Directions for future research on case formulation, scenario planning, and risk management are discussed, with an emphasis on the need for more qualitative research on the process of violence risk assessment and management.
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Thesis advisor: Hart, Stephen D.
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