Accuracy of self-reported arrests among a forensic SPMI population.
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Self-reports are prone to response error even in the most structured and standardized environment, but the highly stigmatizing nature of illegal behavior and the possible cognitive problems inherent to the SPMI population increase the likelihood of such error. Using administrative data as the gold standard, the validity of self-reported arrests was examined among 85 mentally ill substance-abusing individuals with justice involvement. The overall accuracy of self-reported arrests during a three-month recall period was 84.7%. Validity was higher among individuals who at the time of the follow-up interview were either in a jail diversion program or incarcerated. Individuals with a mood disorder appeared to be somewhat less accurate in their self-reports than subjects with schizophrenia, despite the implication of cognitive distortion accompanying this latter diagnostic category. Further research on issues such as the accuracy of self-reports over longer recall periods, or the accuracy of self-reported frequency of arrest, is necessary, given the reliance on self-report methodology in outcome studies.Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.