Psychometric Properties of the MacArthur Community Violence Screening Instrument

Joel K. Cartwright, Sarah L. Desmarais, Kevin J. Grimm, Adam W. Meade, Richard A. Van Dorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examined the psychometric properties of the MacArthur Community Violence Screening Instrument (MCVSI) in a heterogeneous and integrated sample of adults with mental illness (n = 4,480), including its factor structure, model fit, and psychometric properties as a function of patient sex, race, and primary diagnosis. Factor structure results indicate a unidimensional construct. Item-level analyses revealed that the MCVSI’s difficulty, including the easiest and most difficult items to endorse, sometimes differed across sex, race, and primary diagnosis. However, differential item functioning was minimal across these patient characteristics, with only those without a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia indicating an increased likelihood of having “hit anyone with a fist, object or beaten anyone” compared to those with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia. Overall, these findings support using the MCVSI as a measure of violence in studies of U.S. adults with mental illness. They also highlight the importance of using more methodologically rigorous approaches to measuring violence, including the ongoing study of the MCVSI across samples and settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Forensic Mental Health
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes



  • Violence
  • differential item functioning
  • item response theory
  • serious mental illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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