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Prof. James McGuire

James McGuire psiquiatra Controversias Psiquiatría Barcelona
University of Liverpool, Reino Unido
Ponencia Intervenciones psicosociales para la violencia y la agresión
Fechas 9 Septiembre - 11 Septiembre, 2020
Mesa redonda 6 El Manejo de la Violencia y la Agresión


James McGuire, PhD is Emeritus Professor of Forensic Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool, where he was formerly Director of Studies for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme. He has worked as a practitioner in intellectual disabilities services and high security hospitals; and is a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered Clinical and Forensic Psychologist. He has carried out psycho-legal assessments for hearings of the Mental Health Review Tribunal on adults detained in secure hospitals. In the past he has prepared expert witness reports in other areas, including with young offenders charged with offences of violence, for hearings of the Parole Board, and for the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

His principal research interest has been in the design, delivery and evaluation of interventions for psychosocial rehabilitation and the reduction of violent recidivism. He has conducted research in prisons, probation services, youth justice, secure mental health units, addictions services, and other settings on aspects of the effectiveness of treatment with offenders and related topics. He was co-organiser of the What Works series of conferences in the 1990s, and is the author/editor of 14 books and over 150 journal articles and contributed book chapters.

He has been an invited speaker in the United Kingdom and in 21 other countries, and has engaged in a range of consultative work with criminal justice agencies in the United Kingdom and 12 other countries. He was member of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline Group on Antisocial Personality Disorder, and is currently a member of the Correctional Services Advisory and Accreditation Panel, Ministry of Justice, London. He was awarded the 2012 Research Prize of the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA).


This presentation focuses on evidence concerning whether it is possible to reduce rates of aggressive behaviour or of violent criminal recidivism through direct intervention at the individual level.

The information presented is placed in the context whereby violence is not viewed as an inherent part of "human nature", and is neither inevitable nor unchangeable as a product of our evolutionary heritage or biological endowment. Most research is informed instead by an integrative biopsychosocial model of the factors that contribute to the occurrence of violent acts.

The slides summarise the findings of a series of systematic reviews or meta-analyses of research studies in which some form of psychosocial intervention for reducing non-sexual violence was empirically tested in an experimental study, being compared with another form of treatment, or with no treatment.

A series of literature searches located a total of 68 such reviews published in the period 1995-2020. They are divided into six groups by the population on whom the interventions were focused or the setting where the work was done. Reviews have been reported in the following areas: family homes, entailing training for parents or children; in schools, to reduce problems such as bullying; to address the problem of intimate partner violence; in juvenile justice services; in adult prisons or probation departments; and in secure mental health units.

Evaluation research in applied settings is extremely challenging to design and undertake, and it is difficult to eliminate sources of potential bias when interpreting results. Nevertheless, across this range of reviews, the pattern of findings suggest that, although large and dramatic changes are unlikely and would not be expected, there is a sufficient number of positive outcomes that are both statistically and practically significant to support the conclusion that violent conduct can be reduced by psychosocial methods.

There are still many gaps in knowledge in this field: numerous questions remain unanswered. There is a compelling need for better controlled evaluation studies, employing common methods of assessment and agreed metrics for evaluating outcomes.