bookmark_borderLauren Grove wins AP-LS dissertation award

Dr. Lauren Grove received the second-place dissertation award from the American Psychology-Law Society for her dissertation titled, "An Analysis of the Sophistication–Maturity of Justice and Non-Justice Involved Youth and Young Adults."

The abstract of the dissertation reads:

Juvenile transfer refers to a set of mechanisms whereby a juvenile’s case may be processed in criminal court. Forensic mental health evaluators often assess youths’ risk/dangerousness, sophistication–maturity, and treatment amenability to assist judicial determinations regarding youth disposition. Of these three factors, sophistication–maturity—in which the law is concerned with the extent to which a juvenile defendant’s criminal sophistication and maturity level parallels that of an adult—has traditionally been the most challenging for practitioners to define and apply in practice. The Risk-Sophistication-Treatment Inventory (RSTI) is the only commercially available, specialized forensic assessment instrument for the assessment of youths’ sophistication–maturity. However, this tool has not yet been comprehensively examined with young adults, which precludes direct youth-adult comparisons to assist with the interpretation of a juvenile defendant’s sophistication–maturity to inform transfer. The current study examined RSTI-measured developmental maturity and criminal sophistication among a sample of justice-involved young adults (N = 102) and non-justice involved college students (N = 103) aged 18–29 years, using secondary data. Young adults’ sophistication–maturity was compared to that of justice-involved adolescents derived from the RSTI’s normative sample (N = 591). The RSTI’s sophistication–maturity scale demonstrated moderate to good interrater reliability with young adults. Interrater reliability estimates for the criminal sophistication scale were mixed. Justice-involved young adults exhibited significantly higher average levels of sophistication–maturity than justice-involved adolescents. While non- justice-involved young adults exhibited higher average levels of developmental maturity, the reliability of criminal sophistication for this group was doubtful. Findings from the current study suggest that justice-involved young adults may constitute an important comparison group for interpreting youths’ sophistication-maturity for transfer. Implications for advancing developmentally informed transfer policies, enhancing the assessment of youths’ sophistication– maturity for transfer, and promoting rehabilitative efforts that are focused on youths’ healthy, psychosocial development are discussed.

bookmark_borderRachel Bomysoad, Dr. King, and other former members of the lab published a new article

Rachel Bomysoad, Dr. King, and former lab members Jill Del Pozzo, Sarah Hitchcock, Loumarie Vasquez, and Ivysmeralys Morales published a new article, “University Students’ Mental Health Services Need and Utilization, Telemental Health Awareness, and Barriers to Seeking Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” in the Journal of College Student Mental Health.

The abstract reads:

Telemental health services have become more pressing for higher education students since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The extent of that need, and barriers to accessing care, remain uncertain – including demographic inequities. Between June 2020 and December 2021, public university students (N = 1441) were surveyed about demographic factors, history of mental healthcare, telemental health awareness, and perceived pandemic-time mental healthcare needs and barriers. Approximately one-third of the sample reported feeling an increased unmet need for mental health services, with connection to services being predicted by semester cohort, neighborhood income level, mental healthcare history, and level of telemental health awareness. A variety of barriers to seeking care were endorsed by a minority of participants. Results can inform outreach and capacity efforts in the post-vaccines era to improve access to care – including telemental healthcare – for historically marginalized groups, poorer students, and those unfamiliar with mental health services.

This project was originally conceived by Dr. Del Pozzo circa the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

bookmark_borderRachel Bomysoad received several grants for her dissertation project

Rachel Bomysoad received several grants to support her dissertation project, Project Choices: An Experimental Serious Video Game for Performance-Based Risk Assessment.

1. Psi Chi 2022-23 Summer Graduate Research Grant (July 2023): $1500

2. American Academy of Forensic Psychology Dissertation Grants in Applied Law/Psychology (May 2023): $2000

3. Montclair State University PhD Program in Clinical Psychology Research Award (March 2023): $1500

bookmark_borderDr. King and several lab members published a new book chapter

Dr. King and several lab members—Lauren Grove, Sana Vora, and Kenny Gonzalez—have published a book chapter, Assessment and intervention technologies in juvenile justice, in the newly released book, Challenging bias in forensic psychological assessment and testing, edited by Glenda C. Liell, Martin J. Fisher, Lawrence F. Jones, and published by Routledge.

The chapter serves as a companion piece to the systematic review conducted by Lauren Grove, Dr. King, lab member Rachel Bomysoad, former lab member Loumarie Vasquez, and Dr. King’s colleague at the University of Alabama, Dr. Lauren Kois, Technology for assessment and treatment of justice-involved youth: A systematic literature review, published in the journal Law and Human Behavior.

bookmark_borderDr. King and two lab members published a new book chapter

Dr. King, his colleague at the University of Virginia, Dr. Shannon Kelley, and two lab members, Lauren Grove and Brooke Stettler, have published a book chapter, An American perspective, in the newly released book, Safeguarding the quality of forensic assessment in sentencing: A review across western nations, edited by Professor Michiel Van der Wolf and published by Routledge.

The chapter reviews the law and practice of forensic mental health health assessments for adult sentencing, juvenile disposition, insanity acquittal commitment, and sexually dangerous person commitment in the United States, for an international comparative volume.

bookmark_borderDr. King and Sana Vora published a summary of all of APA’s amicus briefs

Dr. King and his doctoral student mentee, Sana Vora, published an entry in the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) News Legal Update column, titled Sixty Years of American Psychological Association Amicus Curiae Briefs: 1962 to 2022.

The entry summarizes the 196 amicus (“friend of court”) briefs, 1 letter in support of certiorari (one route by which a higher court may review the decision of a lower court), and 1 letter in support of petition for review that the American Psychological Association (APA) had filed with a range of courts, beginning in 1962 and up through April 2022.

Dr. King and Ms. Vora have made available for download the data set that they compiled for the project, for use and potential updating in the future by others.

The entry can be read here and the data set is available here.