A multisite comparison of actuarial risk instruments for sex offenders

Psychol Assess. 2003 Sep;15(3):413-25. doi: 10.1037/1040-3590.15.3.413.


Four actuarial instruments for the prediction of violent and sexual reoffending (the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide [VRAG], Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide [SORAG], Rapid Risk Assessment for Sex Offender Recidivism [RRASOR] and Static-99) were evaluated in 4 samples of sex offenders (N = 396). Although all 4 instruments predicted violent (including sexual) recidivism and recidivism known to be sexually motivated, areas under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) were consistently higher for the VRAG and the SORAG. The instruments performed better when there were fewer missing items and follow-up time was fixed, with an ROC area up to .84 for the VRAG, for example, under such favorable conditions. Predictive accuracy was higher for child molesters than for rapists, especially for the Static-99 and the RRASOR. Consistent with past research, survival analyses revealed that those offenders high in both psychopathy and sexual deviance were an especially high-risk group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actuarial Analysis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • ROC Curve
  • Rape / psychology
  • Rape / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Sex Offenses / psychology*
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data