10% of the fellow’s time will be devoted to the development and implementation of an empirically-based research project. The goal of the research project is to develop critical thinking skills and present the research at a conference and submit a paper for publication. Our fellows have been successful at obtaining publications during their fellowship year. In-depth training in forensic psychology is enhanced by participating in scholarly activities and allows the fellow to gain a more nuanced understanding of forensic issues, including their interaction with public policy. The fellow can elect to conduct an independent research project, or the fellow could join a pre-existing research project. Pre-existing opportunities include:

  • Factors predictive of inpatient violence.
  • Validation and testing of specialized risk instruments with forensic patients.
  • Predicting success and failure on conditional release.
  • Identifying malingering.

In addition, the forensic service at ECRH maintains an extensive archival database, which can be utilized for research projects. All research must be approved by the Institutional Review Board.  The following are some recent publications authored by our fellows:  

Lillard, C. M., Johnson, J.C., Vitacco, M.J. (in press). Psychopathy and violence. In P. Strumey (Ed). The Wiley Handbook of Violence and Aggression.

Gay, J.G., Vitacco, M.J., & Ragatz, L.L. (2017). Mental health symptoms predict competency to stand trial and competency to stand trial restoration. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 23, 230-240.

Gottfried, E., Schenk, A., & Vitacco, M.J. (2016). Retrospectively assessing for feigning in criminal responsibility evaluations: Recommendations for clinical practice. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 16, 118-128. 

Vitacco, M.J., Tabernik, H.E., Zavodny, D., Bailey, K., & Waggoner, C. (2016). Projecting risk: The Importance of the HCR-20 “R” scale in predicting outcomes with forensic patients. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 34, 308-320.

Tabernik, H.E., & Vitacco, M.J. (2016). Psychosis, drug use, and dangerousness: Moving towards a model for assessing dangerousness in insanity acquittees. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 34, 295-307.

Gay, J., Ragatz, L.L., & Vitacco, M.J. (2015). Mental Health Symptoms and their relationship to specific deficits in competency to proceed to trial evaluations. Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law, 22, 780-791