The etiology of risk: A preliminary model

T Ward, Anthony Beech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to describe an approach that links risk-assessment and theory-directed research. Here we describe a theoretical underpinning to current notions of dynamic risk assessment. The paper has two facets. First, the reframing of a number of concepts such as (i). stable dynamic factors that we note would be better described as traits and hence have a grounding in the extant general psychological literature on trait theory, (ii). static risk factors that can be viewed as historical markers of the same underlying psychological dispositions measured by stable dynamic risk factors; (iii). acute risk factors that are better described as triggering/contextual risk factors (iv). acute risk factors that should be defined as the state expression of traits triggered by triggering/contextual risk factors. And second, the description of an etiological model of risk-model taking into account the interaction between significant learning events (i.e., developmental variables), psychological vulnerabilities (i.e., marked by static/historical variables and/or stable dynamic risk factors.), contextual or triggering factors and their convergence in offense-related acute dynamic risk (i.e., acute psychological states).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-284
Number of pages14
JournalSexual abuse : a journal of research and treatment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • sexual offender(s)
  • theories of sexual offending
  • acute dynamic risk
  • stable dynamic risk
  • dynamic risk
  • static risk
  • abuse history
  • attachment


Dive into the research topics of 'The etiology of risk: A preliminary model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this