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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 49 (2007) 4, 221 - 232

New research

Risk assessment and treatment evaluation by means of two forensics observation instruments

E. Brand, H. Nijman

background Under the Dutch tbs system (compulsory detention by government order), risk assessment and treatment evaluation are closely linked procedures.
aim To test the psychometric properties of two observation instruments developed specifically for evaluating the treatment of persons compulsory detained (tbs).
method Two observation instruments for the use of social therapists and/or group leaders were tested on the basis of measurements obtained at the 'Meijers Instituut'(n=556) and at the 'De Kijvelanden'(n=100). The two instruments, one called the stm list (list for social therapists) and the other called the 'coping list', are questionnaires. The lists are designed to measure characteristics such as social skills, cooperation, daily living skills and coping skills in forensic psychiatric patients. These characteristics are believed to be important predictors of risk of future criminal behaviour.
results The internal consistency for the two questionnaires was found to be good. The results obtained at 'De Kijvelanden' showed that the stm questionnaire had adequate test-retest reliability. The stm total scores and subscale scores were found to be significantly associated with criminal recidivism. Anti-social behaviour on the ward, daily living skills and social skills, and to a lesser extent cooperation and negative coping styles, were found to be associated with future relapse into criminal behaviour. conclusion The questionnaires appear to be suitable for repeated assessing the effects of treatment on behaviour in forensic psychiatric settings and could possibly serve as useful supplements to other risk assessment methods that are currently available.


keywords forensic psychiatry, risk assessment, treatment evaluation