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Personal Disord. 2013 Apr;4(2):160-7. doi: 10.1037/a0029769. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Risk reduction treatment of high-risk psychopathic offenders: the relationship of psychopathy and treatment change to violent recidivism.

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Department of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


The relationships of psychopathy, therapeutic change, and violent recidivism were examined in a sample of 152 high-risk violent offenders treated in a high-intensity violence reduction program at the Regional Psychiatric Centre (RPC) in Saskatoon, SK. The Violence Risk Scale (VRS; Wong & Gordon, 1999-2003) and Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 1991, 2003) were rated on the sample. As an extension on a prior psychometric study of the VRS (Lewis, Olver, & Wong, 2012), the associations of therapeutic change scores, obtained from pre- and posttreatment ratings of VRS dynamic items, and violent recidivism were examined among high-risk psychopathic offenders (mean PCL-R >25) over approximately 5 years' follow-up. Positive therapeutic change correlated negatively with the PCL-R, particularly Factor 1 and the Affective facet, and was significantly associated with reductions in violent recidivism after controlling for psychopathy. The association of change to violent outcome decreased, however, when controlling for the Affective facet. Taken together, the present results suggest that risk-related treatment changes demonstrated by high-risk psychopathic offenders can be predictive of reductions in violent recidivism, and that reliable measurements of therapeutic change may be informative about treatment outcome in a high-risk violent offender group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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