Review Of: "Personality Assessment in Offenders with Mild and Moderate Intellectual Disabilities" (1)
Zelenski, S. G., The Exceptional Parent
Review of: "Personality Assessment in Offenders with Mild And Moderate Intellectual Disabilities" BY JONATHAN MASON, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, CEDAR HOUSE HOSPITAL, CANTERBURY
The author has taken on a particularly difficult subject in this article, which serves as a partial review of personality assessment in people with intellectual disability further complicated with forensic issues. He introduces a variety of concerns in making the assessment, including the paucity of research in this area. He highlights this difficulty by referring to a great deal of research, which has not yet been published in reviewed journals but at the time of his article were "in press." Normally, I would object to this, but it is clear that little indeed is available. The author is also careful, while presenting his viewpoints and supporting them with literature citation, to acknowledge that there is still enough ambiguity in research results that alternative approaches may be just as valid.
There are three aspects of this article that make it important for workers in this field: 1) the proposed model of personality assessment in offenders with ID, 2) the summary of personality tests used in the model, and 3) the demonstration of the model in assessing a case.
In developing a model of personality assessment, several key factors must be considered. One of these is: Who is the informant? In the field of developmental disability, clinicians have typically relied on a caregiver, guardian, or relative, even if the individual with the disability is verbal. The author is very clear and cites (Finlay and Lyons) (2) in stating that people with mild and moderate intellectual disability are capable of giving an accurate self-report. While this is less true as the cognitive disability becomes more severe, I tend to agree with Mason and would suggest that a blended source of information be used as the disability makes it less possible to use self-report. The flow diagram that is presented in this article can be very helpful as it not only provides an algorithm for assessment, but specifies tests that could be used at different steps along the way. Also of value is Mason's discussion of alternative tests that can be used which, while less validated, may be more practicable for relatively rapid administration. Whatever tests or algorithms are used, however, it is always important to factor in variables such as working memory life experiences including cultural issues, development aspects, reading skills, and comorbid medical and psychiatric difficulties.
Finally, Mason provides an actual case where he applies the model presented in the article. This provides the reader with a very concrete example from which to consider his/her own application of the model.
Other authors continue to be cautious in trying to establish a diagnosis of a personality disorder in people with developmental disability and forensic issues. …