Jay Schneller, PhD
The PETRA is a 60-item, self-report psychosocial assessment instrument for use with adolescents ages 11-18 years who exhibit threatening behaviour. Following a threat of violence, the PETRA allows for an analysis of the context of psychosocial, social, and ecological factors to assist in the identification, assessment, and management of adolescents who pose a risk for targeted violence through intervention before the violent act occurs. Critical Items identify known threat risk factors.
The PETRA provides four domain scores (i.e. Psychosocial, Resiliency Problems, Ecological, Total), eight cluster scores (i.e. Depressed Mood, Alienation, Egocentricism, Aggression, Family/Home, School, Stress, Coping Problems), two Response Style Indicators (i.e. Inconsistency, Social Desirability), and eight Critical Items. Also included is the PETRA Threat Assessment Matrix, which is used to classify the content of a threat as low, medium, or high risk based on the information gleaned from the threat itself.
Conversion tables for the domains, clusters, and Response Style Indicators are grouped by age and gender in the appendix tables of the Professional Manual to assist the clinician in obtaining T scores, percentiles, and 90% confidence intervals from an individual's raw scores. Interpretation of the PETRA is straightforward using a five step process that is systematic with thorough methodology for gathering, guiding, and interpreting multisource data.
These interpretive steps take into consideration the results in light of other data, including background information, information from other informants, and information gleaned from follow-up interviews. These steps also emphasise the simultaneous and dynamic interpretation necessary to fully understand the content and context of a threat of violence.
Reliability and Validity
- Internal consistency for the PETRA domains ranged from .66-.90.
- Test-retest stability coefficients (corrected) ranged from .63 for the Coping Problems cluster to .88 for the Aggression cluster.
- Validity studies comparing the PETRA with the Adolescent & Child Urgent Threat Evaluation (ACUTE), Behavior Assessment System for Children Self-Report of Personality (BASC-SRP); the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment, Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL); the Clinical Assessment of Depression (CAD); the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI); and the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire (SIQ) are presented in the Professional Manual.
- PETRA domains and clusters demonstrated moderate to high correlations for both males and females, with the correlations of highest magnitude for each cluster falling onto its assigned domain.
The PETRA materials consist of the Professional Manual, the carbonless Rating Form/Scoring Sheet, and the Score Summary/Profile Form. Written at a 3rd-grade reading level, the PETRA was normed, standardised, and validated with males and females ages 11-18 years that were representative of a wide range of racial/ethnic backgrounds, and urban, suburban and rural communities (N = 1,770).
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