Construct validity and internal reliability of the Finnish risk and needs assessment form

Benny Salo, Toni Laaksonen, Pekka Santtila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Validation of risk and needs assessment instruments used to predict, and reduce, recidivism and misconduct is of ethical, practical and scientific importance. We argue for a focus on variable (i.e. changeable over time) risk factors, and that validation begins with establishing construct validity. The Finnish Risk and Needs Assessment Form, in Finnish Riski- ja tarvearvio (RITA), is a semi-structured interview form adapted from the Offender Assessment System used in England and Wales and consists primarily of variable risk factors. In this study, we examined the construct validity and internal reliability of RITA. The results suggest that the original RITA sections do not provide an adequate statistical model for describing the relationship between scored questions, and we, therefore, offer an improved model. In our proposed model, several scores are influenced by more than one dimension of risk and the dimensions correlate with each other considerably. We suggest that the dimensions that can be measured with RITA are Problems managing economy, Alcohol problems, Resistance to change, Drug abuse and associated behaviour, Aggressiveness and Employment problems. All factors except Drug abuse and associated behaviour had very good internal reliability. We propose this new model to be used in future research with, and in development of, RITA.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)86–107
JournalJournal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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