1. Truthfulness Scale: Measures how truthful the defendant was while completing the Defendant Questionnaire (DQ). This scale identifies guarded and defensive defendants that attempt to "fake good" or lie. Defendant denial and problem minimization are associated with increased probability of recidivism ( Kropp, Hart, Webster & Eaves, 1995; Grann & Wedin, 2002). Reluctance or refusal to take responsibility for one's behavior can indicate a lack of motivation to change (Scott & Wolfe, 2003). Truthfulness Scale scores in the 70 to 89th percentile range reflect some denial and problem minimization, but problem range scores are truth-corrected. This truth-correction procedure is similar to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) truth - correction procedure. The MMPI L, F, and K - scale correction is similar to the truth - correction used in the DQ.
Truthfulness Scale scores at or above the 90th percentile mean that all DQ scale scores are inaccurate (invalid) because the defendant was overly guarded, minimized problems or was attempting to "fake good." Defendants that have severe reading impairments or are very emotionally disturbed at the time they are arrested, could attain elevated (70th percentile or higher) Truthfulness Scale scores. If the defendant can read the newspaper they can read the DQ. If not consciously deceptive, probationers with elevated (70th percentile or higher) Truthfulness Scale scores are often uncooperative - in a passive aggressive manner.
The Truthfulness Scale is important because it shows whether or not the defendant answered test questions accurately and honestly. Truthfulness Scale scores at or below the 89th percentile indicate that all other DQ scale scores are accurate. One of the first things to check when reviewing a DQ report is the Truthfulness Scale score. Truthfulness Scale scores are one of the very few ways evaluators can determine if the test results are accurate and can be depended upon. In court settings, one needs to have a sound basis for decision making.
2. Violence (Lethality) Scale: Identifies defendants that are a danger to themselves and others. Violence is defined as the expression of hostility, anger or rage through physical force. A recent study found that the strongest predictors of violence –recidivism while on probation was if the offender was a generally violent aggressor (Stalans, Yarnold, Seng, Olson & Repp, 2004). Violence is aggression in its most extreme and unacceptable form. Elevated Violence Scale scorers can be demanding, overly sensitive to perceived criticism, and insightless about how they express their anger and hostility. Severe problem Violence Scale scores should not be ignored as they are threatening and dangerous.
A particularly unstable and perilous situation involves an elevated Violence Scale score with an elevated Antisocial Scale, Alcohol Scale or Drug Scale score. Substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse and antisocial attitude could contribute to a person’s dangerousness. Some of the same neurochemical anomalies that increase an individual’s violence risk also increase the risk of a substance disorder developing (Brady, 2000). The more of these scales that are elevated with an elevated Violence Scale score - the worse the prognosis. An elevated Stress Management Scale score with an elevated Violence Scale Score, provide insight regarding co-determinates and treatment. A severe problem Violence Scale score is a malignant sign with or without other elevated scale scores and describes a dangerous person. The Violence Scale score can be interpreted independently or in combination with other DQ scales. There is much evidence supporting the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in treating violent offenders and reducing recidivism (Lipsey, Chapman & Landenberger, 2001).
3. Antisocial Scale: Measures anti-social attitude and behaviors. Recent studies show that antisocial behavior can develop from environmental as well as genetic factors (Lee, 1999). The DSM-5 notes that conduct disorder onset associated with Antisocial Personality Disorder onset begins before age 15 (American Psychological Association, 2000). Antisocial behavior refers to aggressive, impulsive and sometimes violent actions that flout social and ethical codes as well as laws. This behavior pattern often begins with a conduct disorder involving lying, stealing, fighting, cruelty, truancy, vandalism, and substance abuse. Elevated Antisocial Scale scores are often associated with non-internalization of recognized conventions. Many high scoring Antisocial Scale scores manifest a seeming inability to profit from experience.
An elevated (70th percentile or higher) Antisocial Scale score, in conjunction with an elevated Alcohol Scale, Drug Scale, or Violence Scale score would be a malignant sign. A severe problem (90th percentile or higher) Stress Management Scale score with a severe problem (90th percentile or higher) Antisocial Scale score, suggests the possibility of a suspicious/paranoid mental health problem. Elevated Antisocial Scale scores often suggest a negative overlay to acting out behaviors. The Antisocial Scale can be interpreted independently or in combination with other elevated DQ scale scores.
4. Alcohol Scale: Measures alcohol use and the severity of abuse. Alcohol refers to beer, wine and other liquor. It is a licit substance. SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies recently reported that the rate of substance abuse among offenders is significantly higher than the general population (SAMHSA, 2008). The link between alcohol and violent crime is established in the research literature. In a nationwide study, a significant percentage of victims of violent offenses reported that alcohol had been a factor (Greenfeld, 1998). An elevated (70th to 89th percentile) Alcohol Scale score is indicative of an emerging drinking problem. An Alcohol Scale score in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range identifies serious drinking problems.
Since a history of alcohol problems could result in an abstainer (current non-drinker) attaining a low to medium-risk score, precautions have been built into the DQ to correctly identify “recovering alcoholics.” The defendant's answer to the “recovery question" (item# 114) is printed in the “Significant Items” section of the DQ report for easy reference. In addition, abbreviated Alcohol Scale paragraphs caution staff to establish if the defendant is a recovering alcoholic.
Other Alcohol Scale answers are printed as “Significant Items” when they are admitted to. For example, #67 (reports a recovering alcoholic), #26 (drinking problem in last year) and #62 (states serious drinking problem).
Severely elevated Alcohol and Drug Scale scores indicate polysubstance abuse and the highest scores usually identify the defendant’s substance of choice.
Scores in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range are a malignant sign. Alcohol Scale scores in the severe problem range often magnify the behavior associated with other elevated scale scores. Substance abuse treatment has been associated with decreased criminal recidivism (Bromme, Knight, Hiller & Simpson, 1996). The Alcohol Scale can be interpreted independently or in combination with other DQ scales.
5. Drug Scale: Measures drug use and the severity of abuse. Drugs refer to marijuana, ice, crack, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, barbiturates, heroin, etc. Significant percentages of offenders have been shown to test positive for illicit drugs (Issac, Heatley, & Savoie, 1990). A recent Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) study found that 20 percent of offenders reported using illicit drugs 30 days prior to their last arrest (BJS, 1998). An elevated (70 to 89th percentile) Drug Scale score identifies emerging drug problems. A Drug Scale score in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range identifies established and serious drug problems.
A history of drug-related problems (e.g. drug-related arrests, drug treatment, etc.) could result in an abstainer (current non-user) attaining a low to medium risk Drug Scale score. For this reason, precautions have been built into the DQ to insure correct identification of “recovering” drug abusers. Many of these precautions are similar to those discussed in the previous Alcohol Scale description. The defendant’s answer to the “recovery” question (item# 114) is printed in the Significant Items section of the DQ report. In addition, elevated (70th percentile and above) Drug Scale paragraphs caution to establish if the defendant is a recovering drug abuser.
Other Drug Scale admissions are printed as “Significant Items” For example, #38 (has attended NA or CA meetings) and #91 (admits is dependant on drugs). Concurrently elevated Drugs and Alcohol Scale scores are indicative of polysubstance abuse and the highest score usually reflects the defendant’s substance of choice.
A severe (90 to 100th percentile) Drug Scale score usually exacerbates or magnifies the effects associated with other elevated scores when the defendant uses drugs. A particularly dangerous situation exists when the Violence Scale score and the Drug Scale score are both in the severe problem range. Elevated Drug Scale scores contribute to further impaired Stress Coping Abilities (stress management) scale scores. A severe problem Drug Scale score is an even more problematic sign when any other DQ scales are also in the severe range. The Drug Scale can be interpreted independently or in combination with other DQ scales.
6. The Substance Use Disorder classification incorporates 11 DSM-5 criteria. DSM-5 Substance Use Disorder severity is based upon the number of the 11 symptom criteria endorsed. When “none or one” of the 11 symptom criteria are endorsed (admissions), the offender does not meet substance use disorder criteria. When “two or three” symptom criteria are endorsed, the offender’s substance use disorder severity is classified Moderate. Problem severity is identified by the endorsement of “four or five” of the 11 symptom criteria. A severe substance use disorder is identified by the presence of six or more of the 11 symptoms.
There is an important difference between the DQ Substance Use Disorder Scale and the DQ Alcohol Scale and Drug Scale. The Substance Use Disorder Scale classifies people in terms of severity of their substance use problem. In contrast, the Alcohol Scale and Drug Scale measure the severity of alcohol and drug use or abuse.
At the beginning of this Scale Description webpage, it was noted that there are several levels of DQ scale interpretation that range from viewing DQ scales as self-reports to interpreting scale elevations and scale inter-relationships. This is particularly true when assessing Substance Use Disorder Scale, Alcohol Scale, and Drug Scale relationships with all DQ Scales. The Substance Use Disorder Scale can be interpreted independently, or in combination with other DQ scales.
7. Stress Management Scale: Measures one’s ability to effectively manage the stress, tension and pressure the defendant experiences. It is now known that stress exacerbates physical, emotional and mental stress. Thus, an elevated (70th percentile and above) Stress Management Scale score in conjunction with other elevated DQ scales helps explain the defendant's situation. When a defendant doesn’t manage stress well, other problems are often exacerbated. Such problem augmentation or magnification applies to substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse, behavioral acting out and attitudinal problems. A recent study found that offenders experience high levels of stress and emotional reactivity (Hagedorn & Willenbring, 2003).
Stress management strategies and techniques are learned. Low and medium deficits are usually referred to “stress management classes” where participants learn how to identify their stress and constructive techniques and strategies for reducing or managing it. However, more serious stress coping deficits are usually treated in conjunction with co-occurring disorders. More specifically, when a Stress Management Scale score is in the problem (70 to 89th percentile) range, the defendant is often referred to stress management classes. When the Stress Management Scale score is in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range, it is likely that there are serious co-occurring disorders. In these instances, referral for counseling or psychotherapy would likely be warranted. Among several effective psychotherapies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is popular (Gardener, Rose, Mason, Tyler, & Cushway, 2005). The Stress Management Scale can be dealt with independently or in conjunction with other elevated DQ scale scores.
Earlier it was noted that there are several levels of Defendant Questionnaire (DQ) interpretation ranging from viewing the DQ as a self-report to interpreting scale elevations and inter-relationships. Such confidence (freedom from doubt) is only possible because of the DQ’s Truthfulness Scale. Without a Truthfulness Scale, how does any test administrator know if the respondent was truthful (honest or trustworthy) when answering test questions?