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Assessing the risk of imminent aggression in institutionalized youth offenders using the dynamic appraisal of situational aggression

Chi Meng Chu, Eric Hoo, Michael Daffern & Jolie Tan
Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 1-16

DOI: 10.1080/14789949.2012.668207

Available online: 15 Mar 2012



Aggressive behavior in incarcerated youth presents a significant problem for staff, co-residents and the functioning of the institution. This study aimed to examine the predictive validity of an empirically validated measure, designed to appraise the risk of imminent aggression within institutionalized adult psychiatric patients (Dynamic Appraisal of Situational Aggression; DASA), in adolescent male and female offenders. The supervising staff members on the residential units rated the DASA daily for 49 youth (29 males and 20 females) over two months. The results showed that DASA total scores significantly predicted institutional aggression in the following 24 and 48 hrs; however, the predictive validity of the DASA for institutional aggression was, at best, modest. Further analyses on male and female subsamples revealed that the DASA total scores only predicted imminent institutional aggression in the male subsample. Item analyses showed that negative attitudes, anger when requests are denied, and unwillingness to follow instructions predicted institutional aggression more strongly as compared with other behavioral manifestations of an irritable and unstable mental state as assessed by the DASA.



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