Recent interview-based measures of competency to stand trial: a critical review augmented with research data

Behav Sci Law. 2001;19(4):503-18. doi: 10.1002/bsl.458.


Forensic experts are frequently asked to conduct competency-to-stand trial evaluations and address the substantive prongs propounded in Dusky v. United States (1960). In understanding its application to competency evaluations, alternative conceptualizations of Dusky are critically examined. With Dusky providing the conceptual framework, three interview-based competency measures are reviewed: the Georgia Court Competency Test (GCCT), the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool-Criminal Adjudication (Mac-CAT-CA), and the Evaluation of Competency to Stand Trial-Revised (ECST-R). This review has a twin focus on reliability of each measure and its correspondence to Dusky prongs. The current review is augmented by new factor analytic data on the MacCAT-CA and ECST-R. The article concludes with specific recommendations for competency evaluations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Criminal Psychology / methods*
  • Expert Testimony*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Forensic Psychiatry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological*
  • Mental Competency / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • United States