Improving the evaluation of adult mental disorders in the criminal justice system with computerized adaptive testing

Robert D. Gibbons*, Justin D. Smith, C. Hendricks Brown, Mary Sajdak, Nneka Jones Tapia, Andrew Kulik, Matthew W. Epperson, John Csernansky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: The authors sought to develop and validate a suite of dimensional measures of psychiatric syndromes for use in a criminal justice population. Methods: The previously validated Computerized Adaptive Test-Mental Health (CAT-MH) was administered to a sample of 475 defendants in the Cook County Bond Court. Itemlevel data were used to determine which test items exhibited differential item functioning in this population compared with the population used for the original calibration. Results: After removal of nine items that exhibited differential item functioning from the CAT-MH, correlations between scores based on the original calibration from a nonjustice-involved population and the newly computed scores based on a sample of bond court defendants showed a correlation coefficient of r=0.96 to r=0.99. Conclusions: With a slight modification of the original CATMH, the tool was successfully used to measure severity of depression, anxiety, mania and/or hypomania, suicidality, and substance use disorder in an English- and Spanishspeaking criminal justice population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1040-1043
Number of pages4
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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