Alexis Bowles


Competency evaluations are the most widely completed forensic evaluation and concerns have been raised regarding inconsistency in the quality of forensic evaluations (Bow & Quinnell, 2001; Horvath, Logan, & Walker, 2002; Otto & Heilbrun, 2002). Currently, there is no enforceable standard of care in forensic psychological assessment (Heilbrun, DeMatteo, Marczyk, & Goldstein 2008). The research objective was to examine practice procedures and explore the development of a standard of care for competency evaluations. The study aimed to answer 2 research questions: (a) What are the current recommended practice procedures for psychologists conducting competency evaluations? (b) What would a standard of care for competency evaluations entail? A 2-pronged phenomenological approach was employed, consisting of a critical review of competency evaluation practice procedures and qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 6 clinical psychologists who complete forensic evaluations. The interview findings are presented under the following domains that have been identified for a proposed standard of care for forensic psychological evaluations (Conroy, 2006; Goldstein, 2007): (a) ethical conduct, (b) necessary knowledge of the legal system, (c) use of appropriate methodology, (d) inclusion of information from a variety of data sources, (e) awareness of relevant empirical research, (f) proper preparation and presentation of findings to the legal system, and (g) adherence to an expected threshold of quality. The results of the comprehensive literature review and interview findings are discussed, as well as the limitation of the study and suggestions for future research.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Competency to stand trial; Forensic psychology -- Methodology

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

de Mayo, Robert R.;