15 Forensic Psychological Assessments

Assessment Psychology


  1. James R. P. Ogloff JD, PhD1,
  2. Kevin S. Douglas LL.B., PhD2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop210015

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Ogloff, J. R. P. and Douglas, K. S. 2012. Forensic Psychological Assessments. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 10:II:15.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Monash University and Institute of Forensic Mental Health, School of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Psychological Medicine, Victoria, Australia

  2. 2

    Simon Fraser University, Department of Psychology, Burnaby, BC, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


This chapter provides an introduction to the field of clinical forensic psychology. It focuses on four general topics. First, we provide a definition of forensic psychology and a discussion of how it fits within clinical psychology, arguing that psychologists who work in the field of forensic psychology must have specialized training and experience in the field. Second, we discuss the legal parameters within which forensic assessments are conducted and note that legal standards establish the parameters of the assessment and help focus the clinician's task. We introduce and discuss the psycholegal content analysis approach to forensic assessment. Next, we review some of the contemporary issues in forensic assessment, including the effect of the clinical versus actuarial debate for the field, the development of the legally informed practitioner model, the roles and limits of general psychological testing in forensic contexts, legal specificity and training in forensic psychology. Finally, we discuss some future concerns that should be addressed in the field. In particular, we raise concerns about quality control in forensic assessment and identify areas that require further development (i.e., civil forensic assessment, forensic assessments with youth, women, and visible minorities).


  • assessment;
  • forensic psychology;
  • law