Assessing Dynamic Risk Factors in Institutional Settings Using STABLE-2007


  • Yolanda Fernandez


Assessing dynamic risk factors for persons who reside in an institution can be a challenge. Conceptualizing and scoring dynamic risk factors is more difficult when environments are restricted and opportunities for those being assessed to demonstrate changes in behaviour may be few and far between. Additionally, because dynamic risk measures rely partly on file information scoring is dependent on the training and backgrounds of the people who record information and their personal decisions as to what they consider important enough to include in records. This may mean that scoring under research conditions based only on file review does not reflect the reliability of the measure under clinical conditions. Despite these challenges the present paper argues that there is sufficient evidence to support the use of STABLE-2007 as a reliable and valid measure of dynamic risk factors in institutional settings under both clinical and research conditions. Tips are provided on how to conceptualize institutional behaviours in a manner relevant to dynamic risk factors and how to weigh historical versus more recent information. Finally, recommendations are made for implementing a thoughtful system of checks and balances relevant to the assessment process in institutional settings.