ERIC Number: EJ1078295
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
Content, Structure, and Usefulness of Juvenile Predisposition Psychological Evaluations
Morin, Samantha L.; Cruise, Keith R.; Hinz, Holly; Holloway, Evan D.; Chapman, John F.
Child & Youth Care Forum, v44 n6 p893-917 Dec 2015
Background: There is a dearth of research regarding the content and structure of juvenile predisposition psychological evaluations. Limited research suggests that key mental health domains are insufficiently represented and judges use evaluator recommendations regarding legal outcomes more often than clinical outcomes. Studies have not addressed whether content and/or structure of evaluations influence the use of evaluator recommendations by juvenile probation officers (JPOs). Objective: This study reviewed and rated the content and structure of juvenile predisposition psychological evaluations conducted in an East Coast state to identify evaluation characteristics that informed JPOs use of evaluation recommendations in disposition planning. Methods: Juvenile predisposition psychological evaluations (N = 150) were reviewed and coded on key variables (e.g., legal history, sociocultural factors, Forensic Mental Health Assessment-FMHA principles, use of empirically-supported tools). Results: Multiple content areas including family history, drug and alcohol history, education history were included in the evaluations (ranging from 48 to 100 %); however, sufficient detail for content domains ranged from 10 to 76 %. Evaluator recommendations were incorporated in disposition plans 35 % of the time, regardless of evaluation content or sufficiency, with 70 % of accepted recommendations being mental health related. Conclusions: Although evaluations often included information covering multiple key content areas, there was significant variability in the amount of information provided. Inconsistent with prior research with judges, none of the variables of interest (presence and sufficiency of detail, well-justified and explained recommendations, adherence to FMHA principles) predicted use of evaluation recommendations by JPOs. Implications for quality assurance and training are discussed.
Descriptors: Youth, Personality Traits, Psychological Evaluation, Mental Health, Caseworkers, Evaluators, Juvenile Justice, Family Characteristics, Educational Background, Drug Use, Alcohol Abuse
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A