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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The use of specific versus general risk assessment tools and the predictors of criminal history and psychopathy among an archival sample of incarcerated male batterers Thomas, Lindsay A.


The files of 92 men with a history of domestic violence were evaluated to assess: 1) the degree to which criminal history is associated with particular intimate violence patterns; 2) the extent to which psychopathy among batterers can be predicted from criminal history and spousal assault patterns; and 3) the relative efficacy of applying measures of general violence risk, such as the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 1980, 1990), versus measures of specific violence risk, such as the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide (SARA; Kropp, Hart, Webster, & Eaves, 1994, 1995, 1998) to batterer populations. Findings examining criminal history suggest that battering behaviors among men who also have a history of assault outside the home merely mark a manifestation of a more global pattern of offending. Further, regression analyses show that simple assault charges and severity of spousal assault incidents function as significant predictors of psychopathy (p < .05). The results of the current study lend support to the trend of developing specific violence risk assessment tools. That is, what we know about violence risk prediction, despite the fact that there is considerable overlap in the variables that seem to predict general and specific acts of violence, should be reframed in terms of various violent offender groups to develop specific risk measures, such as the SARA.

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