Improving risk assessment of violence among military veterans: an evidence-based approach for clinical decision-making.
Increased media attention to post-deployment violence highlights the need to develop effective models to guide risk assessment among military Veterans. Ideally, a method would help identify which Veterans are most at risk for violence so that it can be determined what could be done to prevent violent behavior. This article suggests how empirical approaches to risk assessment used successfully in civilian populations can be applied to Veterans. A review was conducted of the scientific literature on Veteran populations regarding factors related to interpersonal violence generally and to domestic violence specifically. A checklist was then generated of empirically-supported risk factors for clinicians to consider in practice. To conceptualize how these known risk factors relate to a Veteran's violence potential, risk assessment scholarship was utilized to develop an evidence-based method to guide mental health professionals. The goals of this approach are to integrate science into practice, overcome logistical barriers, and permit more effective assessment, monitoring, and management of violence risk for clinicians working with Veterans, both in Department of Veteran Affairs settings and in the broader community. Research is needed to test the predictive validity of risk assessment models. Ultimately, the use of a systematic, empirical framework could lead to improved clinical decision-making in the area of risk assessment and potentially help prevent violence among Veterans.
Elbogen, EB; Fuller, S; Johnson, SC; Brooks, S; Kinneer, P; Calhoun, PS; Beckham, JC
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