Cross Validation of the Self-Appraisal Questionnaire (SAQ): A Tool for Assessing Violent and Nonviolent Recidivism in Australian Offenders

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Abstract:

The aim of this study was to determine whether the Self-Appraisal Questionnaire (SAQ; Loza, 1996), a selfreport measure designed to predict recidivism, which was found to be psychometrically sound with Canadian male offenders, would also be reliable and valid for use with Australian male offenders. The SAQ consists of 72 items; with 6 subscales that measure offenders' criminogenic risk/need areas. The SAQ was administered to 116 male offenders incarcerated in rural southwestern Australia, along with the Psychopathy Checklist — Revised (PCLR; Hare, 1991) and the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG; Harris, Rice, & Quinsey, 1993). Data related to the offenders' criminal history were collected via review of institutional files. The Cronbach alphas for the SAQ subscale scores ranged from .68 to .76. The correlations between SAQ total score and subscale scores ranged from .48 to .86. The SAQ subscales significantly correlated with other instruments assessing recidivism. Offenders with high SAQ total scores had significantly more total number of offences, higher numbers of breaches of conditional releases, and higher numbers of violent offences. Offenders who committed violent offences scored significantly higher than those who committed nonviolent offences. These results support the previous findings establishing the reliability and validity of the SAQ for use with Canadian offenders and suggest that the SAQ may have applicability for use as an instrument for predicting violent and nonviolent recidivism in Australian populations. A follow-up predictive study is needed to further validate the SAQ on Australian offenders, and other offender populations, to widen its applicability.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1375/1321871042707269

Affiliations: 1: Department of Justice, Western Australia, Australia 2: Kingston Penitentiary, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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