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Referral Decision Scale With Mentally Disordered Inmates: A Preliminary Study of Convergent and Discriminant Validity

NCJ Number
Law and Human Behavior Volume: 19 Issue: 5 Dated: (October 1995) Pages: 481-492
R Rogers; K W Sewell; K Ustad; V Reinhardt; W Edwards
Date Published
13 pages
This study examined the convergent and discriminant validity of the Referral Decision Scale (RDS), a rapid screening instrument developed by Teplin and Swartz to identify schizophrenia and major mood disorders in jail populations, in a sample of 108 mentally disordered inmates in a Texas county jail.
The analysis considered this instrument, the Schedule of Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia--Change Version (SADS-C) and the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). The participants averaged 33.29 years of age. The sample was 31.5 percent black, 5.6 percent Hispanic, 53.7 percent white, and 9.3 unrecorded. The majority were facing multiple charges that included violent and drug offenses. Results revealed that the RDS provided moderate evidence of convergent validity but failed to demonstrate acceptable discriminant validity, because of high intercorrelations on RDS subscales. In comparison, the SADS-C yielded similar evidence of convergent validity and excellent discriminant validity. Findings did not support the clinical use of the RDS to screen inmates for common disorders (schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder), although it might still be used in correctional settings to indicate general psychological impairment. The SADS-C should be used in the interim, and briefer screening instruments specifically targeted for correctional settings should be developed. Tables and 43 references (Author abstract modified)


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