U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Issues Regarding the Clinical Use of the Classification of Violence Risk (COVR) Assessment Instrument

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 51 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2007 Pages: 676-685
Paul J. McCusker
Date Published
December 2007
10 pages
This article presents the results of a development study and a validation study on the Classification of Violence Risk (COVR) assessment instrument for classifying hospitalized psychiatric patients.
The Classification of Violence Risk (COVR) assessment instrument, when applied to a new sample of subjects, was unable to demonstrate predictive power on a par with that shown in its development study. The results of the development study and the validation study reviewed here do provide some evidence that the COVR, when used to assess civilly hospitalized psychiatric patients in the United States, will provide a better estimate of violence risk than would be obtained by simply predicting to base rates. However, it is concluded that until additional research clarifies uncertainty about the instrument, clinicians would do well to be very cautious in utilizing COVR results to make judgments as to violence risk. The MacArthur Study of Mental Disorder and Violence undertook the Herculean task of examining 134 established or proposed risk factors for violence and identifying those factors or groups of factors that would most accurately classify the hospitalized psychiatric patients in the study sample into subgroups representing the patients’ levels of risk for future violence. The explicit goal was to create a risk-assessment scheme for clinicians. Hence, the MacArthur Study produced the COVR. The COVR has been computerized and is now commercially available to clinicians. The developers of the COVR conducted a validation study on a new sample of hospitalized patients from three facilities. This article presents issues related to both the development study and validation study and the clinical use of the COVR assessment instrument. References


No download available