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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 47 (2005) 8, 511 - 518

New research

Assessing the risk of a recurrence of violence in adolescents.

N. Duits, M. van Casteren, W. van den Brink, Th.A.H. Doreleijers

background The assessment for juvenile courts of the risk of the recurrence of violence in adolescents needs to be improved.
aim To obtain answers to the following question: which factors in the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (savry), an instrument used to assess violence risk in adolescents, are to be found in reports compiled for juvenile courts and which of these factors correlate with the unstructured clinical judgments concerning the recurrence of violence?
method We studied 100 diagnostic assessment files of adolescents (aged 12-18) who had appeared in court suspected of having committed violent crime. Our main purpose was to find out which of the 30 savry-items (10 historical, 6 contextual and 8 individual and 6 protective items) these reports included. Using logistic regression analysis we established a relationship between the savry-items and the clinical judgments of the risk of the recurrence of violence.
results Most of the savry-factors occurred in (nearly) all the files. Five historical items and the contextual item 'rejection by peers' did not appear in 25-62% of the reports. Individual items, particularly 'negative attitudes' and 'psychopathic traits', were found to be most powerful predictors of the risk of the recurrence of violence. Historical items seemed to play a minor role.
conclusion The use of savry-items as a checklist in the risk assessment for juvenile court could be a worthwhile basis for further research aimed at improving the accuracy of clinical judgments of the risk of further violence by adolescents.

[tijdschrift voor psychiatrie 47(2005)8, 511-518]

key words

keywords adolescents, forensic psychiatry, risk assessment, violence