The Impact of Confidence on the Accuracy of Structured Professional and Actuarial Violence Risk Judgments in a Sample of Forensic Psychiatric Patients

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violence risk assessment, prediction, violence, confidence, clinical judgment

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Some previous research indicates that confidence affects the accuracy of probabilistic clinical ratings of risk for violence among civil psychiatric inpatients. The current study investigated the impact of confidence on actuarial and structured professional risk assessments, in a forensic psychiatric population, using community violence as the outcome criteria. Raters completed the HCR-20 violence risk assessment scheme for a sample of 100 forensic psychiatric patients. Results showed that accuracy of both actuarial judgments (HCR-20 total scores) and structured professional judgments (of low, moderate, and high risk) were substantially more accurate when raters were more confident about their judgments. Findings suggest that confidence of ratings should be studied as a potentially important mediator of structured professional and actuarial risk judgments.

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Law and Human Behavior, v. 27, issue 6, p. 573-587