Psychology, Department of



Mario J. Scalora

Date of this Version



Published in Behavioral Sciences and the Law 26 (2008), pp. 511–528; doi: 10.1002/bsl.832 Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Used by permission.


As courts often rely on clinicians when differentiating between sexually abusive youth at a low versus high risk of reoffense, understanding factors that contribute to accuracy in assessment of risk is imperative. The present study built on existing research by examining (1) the accuracy of clinical judgments of risk made after completing risk assessment instruments, (2) whether instrument- informed clinical judgments made with a high degree of confidence are associated with greater accuracy, and (3) the risk assessment instruments and subscales most predictive of clinical judgments. Raters assessed each youth’s (n = 166) risk of reoffending after completing the SAVRY and J-SOAP-II. Raters were not able to predict detected cases of either sexual recidivism or nonsexual violent recidivism above chance, and a high degree of rater confidence was not associated with higher levels of accuracy. Total scores on the J-SOAP-II were predictive of instrument-informed clinical judgments of sexual risk, and total scores on the SAVRY of nonsexual risk.