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Law Hum Behav. 2008 Aug;32(4):325-38. Epub 2007 Jun 28.

Examining the role of static and dynamic risk factors in the prediction of inpatient violence: variable- and person-focused analyses.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA. bemcdermott@ucdavis.edu


Although the construct of psychopathy is related to community violence and recidivism in various populations, empirical evidence suggests that its association with institutional aggression is weak at best. The current study examined, via both variable-level and group-level analyses, the relationship between standard violence risk instruments, which included a measure of psychopathy, and institutional violence. Additionally, the incremental validity of dynamic risk factors also was examined. The results suggest that PCL-R was only weakly related to institutional aggression and only then when the behavioral (Factor 2) aspects of the construct were examined. The clinical and risk management scales on the HCR-20, impulsivity, anger, and psychiatric symptoms all were useful in identifying patients at risk for exhibiting institutional aggression. These data suggest that factors other than psychopathy, including dynamic risk factors, may be most useful in identifying forensic patients at higher risk for exhibiting aggression.

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