Corrections’ staff member Dr Nick Wilson has been asked to take part in an international expert working group to review one of the world’s most widely used forensic measures.
Dr Wilson, Corrections’ National Advisor Research, will be the sole New Zealand representative in the international group, which will investigate ways to improve the Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R).
The PCL-R is used to diagnose cases of psychopathy and in predicting the likelihood of violent behavior. It has been widely adopted worldwide and is considered to be the leading measurement of psychopathy.
Nick says it’s an honour to be chosen to work with leading international forensic experts to review this important measurement.
“The working group is a great opportunity to look at the PCL-R measure in depth and see if it needs to be refined or modified to make it even more effective.”
Adding to the prestige of the appointment is the fact that Nick was chosen to take part in the panel by Dr Robert Hare - the original developer of the PCL-R measure.
Nick says that even though the PCL-R is the most commonly used tool to assess psychopathy there still may be grounds to refine and improve its use.
“PCL-R is widely used to predict the risk of convicted criminals re-offending and the probability of them being rehabilitated, so it’s important to ensure it remains a valid and effective measurement.”
Psychopathy is currently measured over four factors and 20 items. An individual is scored on a scale for a number of criteria including; lack of remorse or guilt, pathological lying, grandiose sense of self-worth, manipulation, callousness, parasitic lifestyle, poor behavioural control, impulsivity, juvenile delinquency and early behavioural problems.
Nick says while the PCL-R has been supported by hundreds of studies since 1991, it’s important the measure is again subject to rigorous review so that it retains its effectiveness and value.
“Further study of the PCL-R will only lead to further improving the measure and ensure that clinicians all around the world have continued confidence in its use.
In addition to training New Zealand and Australian psychologists in the PCL-R, Dr Wilson has carried out research on the effectiveness of psychopathy in predicting violent re-offending and into how to treat psychopathic offenders.
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