The predictive validity and practical utility of structured schemes used to assess risk for aggression in psychiatric inpatient settings

Michael David Daffern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


There has been increased interest in structured schemes for the assessment of risk for aggression within inpatient psychiatric settings. The most commonly utilized schemes are those previously developed to assess risk for prisoners being considered for release on parole and for forensic psychiatric patients being considered for discharge from the hospital to the community. Few structured schemes have been developed with the explicit aim of assessing risk for aggression in the inpatient setting. Recent research utilising a variety of risk assessment schemes has revealed reasonable predictive validity. This narrative review summarizes and appraises this expanding literature within the context of risk assessment decision making tasks typically undertaken by psychiatric unit staff. It is concluded that a number of structured risk assessments schemes do have acceptable predictive validity. Unfortunately, many of the schemes tested are compromised by a lack of practical utility, and only a few are capable of contributing to the entire range of risk assessment decision making tasks required. Options for the application of structured risk assessment schemes are raised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116 - 130
Number of pages15
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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