Developing a clinically useful actuarial tool for assessing violence risk

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Actuarial Analysis; Adolescent; Adult; Algorithms; Female; Hospitalization; Humans; Male; Mental Disorders; Risk Assessment; Risk Factors; Violence




BACKGROUND: A new actuarial method for violence risk assessment--the Iterative Classification Tree (ICT)--has become available. It has a high degree of accuracy but can be time and resource intensive to administer.

AIMS: To increase the clinical utility of the ICT method by restricting the risk factors used to generate the actuarial tool to those commonly available in hospital records or capable of being routinely assessed in clinical practice.

METHOD: A total of 939 male and female civil psychiatric patients between 18 and 40 years old were assessed on 106 risk factors in the hospital and monitored for violence to others during the first 20 weeks after discharge.

RESULTS: The ICT classified 72.6% of the sample as either low risk (less than half of the sample's base rate of violence) or high risk (more than twice the sample's base rate of violence).

CONCLUSIONS: A clinically useful actuarial method exists to assist in violence risk assessment.


Br J Psychiatry. 2000 Apr;176:312-9.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID