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The evaluation of violent thinking in adult offenders and non-offenders using the Maudsley Violence Questionnaire

Authors


Address correspondence to: Nicola Bowes, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Llandaff Campus, Cardiff, CF5 2YB, UK. Email: NBowes@cardiffmet.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Background

The Maudsley Violence Questionnaire (MVQ) was designed to measure explicit rules and beliefs associated with violence. Previous studies with young people and offenders with mental disorder found the MVQ to be a valid and reliable measure of violent thinking.

Aims

This study explores the use of the MVQ with a ‘normal’ (non-offender) population and an offender population without mental illness in order to evaluate how the MVQ's subscales related to violence within these groups.

Method

The MVQ was given to 78 adult male participants along with a measure of self-reported violence; demographic information and criminal history were also recorded. Thirty-five of the participants were convicted adult male offenders resident of an adult male closed prison in South Wales; 43 were volunteers from the staff group in the same prison. The MVQ factors were compared with self-reported violence and with officially recorded violent convictions.

Results

Although both subscales of the MVQ related to self-reported violence, ‘Machismo’ showed a stronger relationship to both self-reported and officially recorded violence.

Conclusions

Violent thinking, specifically beliefs measured by the Machismo subscale of the MVQ, was robustly associated with self-reported and officially recorded violence in this study with offender and non-offender adults.

Implications

  • The MVQ is a valid and feasible measure for use with adult populations.
  • Violent thinking (specifically Machismo thinking styles) should be included in the assessments of violent offenders.
  • Work on violent thinking and reducing ‘macho’ thinking could be a useful adjunct to anger management work with violent offenders. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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