Call for Papers: Field Reliability and Validity of Forensic Psychological Assessment Instruments and Procedures

Submission deadline: Feb. 1, 2016


The past several decades have seen a major upswing in the development and use of psychological assessment instruments in forensic and correctional settings. At the same time, admissibility standards increasingly have stressed the importance of the reliability and validity of evidence in legal proceedings. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has recently acknowledged the importance of considering the psychometric properties of psychological instruments when adjudicating important criminal justice issues (Hall v. Florida, 2014). Recent research has, however, raised serious concerns about (a) the reliability of forensic science evidence in general (e.g., Kassin, Dror, & Kukucka, 2013, National Academy of Sciences, 2009), (b) the replicability of psychological research findings in general (Open Science Collaboration, 2015) and in field settings (Mitchell, 2012), and (c) the inter-rater reliability of forensic psychological assessment evidence in particular (e.g., Miller et al., 2012; Murrie et al., 2009). Clearly, there is a need for ongoing research into the reliability and validity of psychological assessment instruments and procedures when they are taken out of the lab and into legal settings.

Submission Details

Psychological Assessment is soliciting submissions for a special issue focusing on the field reliability and validity of psychological assessment data (broadly construed) in legal contexts. Any potential area of psychological evaluation (e.g., cognitive, emotional, behavioral) relevant to any aspect of criminal, civil or juvenile cases is appropriate for submission. Psychometric tests, rating scales, structured interviews, actuarial instruments, clinical judgment and psychiatric diagnoses (particularly new DSM-5 categories) used to influence legal decision-making are all relevant areas of inquiry. Data-based submissions are preferred but reviews (e.g., meta-analyses) of relevant bodies of literature would also be appropriate as long as they have direct application to the use of instruments and procedures in legal settings.

The deadline to submit a manuscript for this special issue is  Feb. 1, 2016.

Questions concerning the potential appropriateness of any particular submission can be addressed to either of the guest editors of the special issue: John Edens or Marcus Boccaccini.

Papers must be prepared in full accord with the Psychological Assessment instructions to authors and submitted through the journal's manuscript submission portal. When submitting select “Special Issue: Forensic Psychological Assessment Instruments and Procedures” as the article type, and indicate on the “Enter Comments” screen that you would like to have the paper considered for that special issue. Some papers not accepted for this issue may be accepted for publication in Psychological Assessment as regular articles.

Call for Papers: Journal of Personality Assessment

Submission deadline: April 1, 2016

Journal of Personality Assessment constructs may influence the legal system in a variety of ways. At an applied level, personality assessment data may play a role in the adjudication of criminal or civil cases (e.g., child custody, parole decision-making) and in personnel decision-making for legal professionals (e.g., law enforcement personnel, prison guards). At a more theoretical level, personality constructs may be relevant to understanding the attitudes and decision-making of various parties in the legal system as well (e.g., jurors, police officers).

Submission Details

The Journal of Personality Assessment is soliciting submissions for a special section that focuses on personality assessment and its relevance to the law, broadly construed. Although data-based submissions are encouraged (e.g., use of personality assessment data to predict legally-important outcomes, such as violent recidivism), theoretical contributions and literature reviews are also appropriate — particularly those that integrate important psychological or psychometric topics and legal issues or concepts. Though not exhaustive, the following represent general topic areas that would be of interest for this special section:

  • Predictive validity of personality assessment data in criminal (e.g., insanity, parole), civil (e.g., child custody, civil commitment) and juvenile justice proceedings.
  • Reviews of the relevance of personality assessment data to specific legal constructs (e.g., “behavioral abnormality” in civil commitment statutes, “best interests of the child” in custody proceedings, “future dangerousness” in capital murder proceedings.
  • Role of personality assessment in the evaluation of public safety professionals and other legal professionals.
  • Overviews of the uses and applications of specific personality instruments (e.g., MMPI-2-RF) to address various psycholegal topics within the legal system.
  • Legal admissibility of evidence concerning personality constructs and/or specific personality assessment instruments in criminal, civil and juvenile justice proceedings.
  • Generalizability of research findings from nonforensic settings (on topics such as impression management, reliability, predictive validity) to forensic contexts.
  • Juror personality traits and their relation to case dispositions. Empirical papers that focus on applied outcome measures (e.g., case dispositions, recidivism, release decision-making) are preferred over manuscripts demonstrating relationships with outcomes of less direct relevance to the legal field (e.g., associations between personality assessment data and self-report measures).

Both data-based and nondata-based submissions should include a discussion of the practical implications of their findings/conclusions for legal professionals and/or mental health professionals involved in the legal system. The deadline to submit a manuscript for this special section is April 1, 2016.

Questions concerning the potential appropriateness of any particular submission can be addressed to either of the guest editors of the special section: John Edens or David DeMatteo. Manuscripts should follow APA format and be submitted to JPA via the ScholarOne Manuscripts web portal. Authors should specify in their cover letters that they would like their submissions considered for the special section on “Personality Assessment and the Law.”