The standardized five-level risk and needs system is similar to comprehensive, status quo reports for communicating criminal recidivism risk.

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Garvey, Meghan Louise




The risk communication literature to date has shown mixed results about the most efficient way to communicate risk. In an attempt to standardize risk communication, Hanson, Bourgon and colleagues (2017) have put forth the Five Level Risk and Needs System. Despite the proposed benefits of the new Five-Level System, their utility has yet to be tested. The current study assessed whether utilizing the Five-Level System aids in the comprehension of risk and treatment amenability of an individual charged with assault in a sample of the general public. The study was a 3x2 design, manipulating risk level (low, moderate, high) and communication format (Five-Levels, status quo). Limited support was found for communicating risk using the Five-Level System, however there was evidence for improved consistency in risk perceptions, especially for participants presented with a moderate risk case. Findings suggested risk level seemed to matter more than how risk was communicated.


Psychology - Experimental




Carleton University

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