Concept guided risk assessment: Promoting prediction and understanding

Donald J. Baumann, Charles Grigsby, Janess Sheets, Grant Reid, J. Christopher Graham, David Robinson, Jason Holoubek, James Farris, Victoria Jeffries, Eugene Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article presents a concept-guided approach to the assessment of risk in the life situations of children alleged to be maltreatment victims. This concept-guided risk assessment is theoretically based and is the first to use a nomological hierarchy which can yield itself to systematic testing for construct validity. Data were collected on 1199 cases referred for investigations of child maltreatment. Reliability was examined by applying Cronbach's alpha coefficient to the 25 risk features and the 18 risk category constructs within the seven risk areas. Convergent validity coefficients for seven risk area constructs and eighteen risk category constructs were computed and structural validity was examined using an analysis technique adapted from the multitrait-multimethod technique of Campbell and Fiske (1959). Predictive validity was assessed using a multivariate measure assessing rated risk, seriousness, and concern. In general, the results support construct validity. Improvements are needed in assessments of child vulnerability and caregiver stress. The overall psychometric evidence, combined with the model's hierarchical and theoretical nature, suggests a promising direction for future research on understanding and preventing child maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1648-1657
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Concept guided
  • Construct validity
  • Multi-trait-multi-method matrix
  • Theoretically based risk assessment


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