Forensic clinical research

Forensic clinical research

News / Events




A big congratulations to our work study student from New York and a member of our forensic clinical research team, Kadie Lombardo. Kadie graduated on May 5th with a Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Psychology. We excited to see what she does next!

SVPP Presentation

 SVPP presenters 2018

Dr. Costopoulos (middle), along with two team members, Lauren Price (left) and Chelsea Bennett (right), presented at the annual training of Florida’s Sexually Violent Predator evaluators in Tallahassee, FL. They discussed research conducted from 2012 to 2018 regarding sex offender recidivism. The entire team assisted with collecting the hundreds of studies, summarizing research findings, and developing the presentation.  The objectives of this presentation were to summarize recent research on recidivism risk in sexual offenders, and compare predictive factors that are emerging and those with significant support.

Lessons Learned

“Lessons Learned” was the topic of an extremely beneficial meeting for the Forensic Psychology Students in Training (monthly seminar for forensic clinical students). This meeting was held by fourth years in our program who just finished the interview process for internship and came to share their experience with us. They provided the members of FPST with helpful insight on what to expect throughout the entire internship process and internship matching. 

Article Publication

Drs. Farahat and Costopoulos published the article “Cultural impact on ethical values of Saudi Arabian students in the United States higher education system. Psychology and Education: An Interdisciplinary Journal.”  This study compared the beliefs about academic honesty in Saudi Arabian college students studying at home, those studying in the US, and US students studying at home.  The influence of family members, peers, and teachers differed between these groups.

Psychoanalytic Understanding of the Origins of Sexual Violence

The Forensic Psychology Students in Training (monthly seminar for forensic clinical students) held a meeting to discuss the article “Psychoanalytic Understanding of the Origins of Sexual Violence”. Our discussion was led by one of the authors, Dr. Costopoulos. As a group, we reviewed the article and some of the mechanics for developing sexual violence in an individual.

If you are interested in reading this article, visit

Violence and Mental Illness

Our condolences go out to the victims of the Parkland shooting and their loved ones. The media has widely reported that the alleged school shooter has a history of mental illness.  This warrants further discussion on the connection between violence and mental illness. Research suggests this connection is not as strong as believed by the general public.  Swanson et al. (2002) found that only 13% of their mentally ill population had inflicted violence on another person in the year prior to their study. Mulvey et al. (2008) examined the strength of the correlation between mental disability, substance abuse, and risk of violence. It was found that when a patient only consumed alcohol on a given day, the individual was 1.7 times more likely to commit an act of violence opposed to if he or she was sober. If the patient were to consume multiple substances, it was found that they were 3.4 to 7.1 times more likely to commit an act of violence. This points more strongly to the role of substance abuse contributing to people resorting to violence.  We are deeply saddened by the recent Parkland shooting, and hope it leads to a thoughtful discussion of empirically supported risk factors for this tragic incident.

Mulvey, E.P., Odgers, C., Skeem, J., Gardner, W., Schubert, C., & Lidz, C. (2006). Substance use and community violence: A test of the relation at the daily level. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(4), 743-754. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.74.4.743

Swanson, J.W., Swartz, M.S., Essock, S.M., Osher, F.C., Wagner, H.R., Goodman, L.A., … & Meador, K.G. (2002). The social-environmental context of violent behavior in persons treated for severe mental illness.  American Journal of Public Health, 92(9), 1523-1531. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.92.9.1523

Article Publication

Dr. Costopoulos and Samuel Juni’s article “Psychoanalytic Understanding of the Origins of Sexual Violence” has been published this month. This article discusses the link between childhood trauma and adult sexual violence. This is significant for sexual violence literature in that it applies multiple schools of thought within psychoanalytic theory to reach an understanding in the development of sexual violence in an individual.

If you are interested in reading this article, visit

Risk-Need-Responsivity Model

During this month’s meeting, the members of Forensic Psychology Students in Training (monthly seminar for forensic clinical students) participated in a lecture of the current views and applications of the Risk-Need-Responsivity Model.

Femininity in Forensics

The Forensic Psychology Students in Training (monthly seminar for forensic clinical students) discussed the role of femininity in the forensic realm, led by team member Bethany Wellman. We discussed the article “Forensic Psychology: Preparing Female Clinicians for Challenging Offenders” and expressed any challenges that one may face within forensic settings.

If you are interested in reading this article, visit

Book Chapter

Costopoulos’s chapter in “Reflections on Academic Lives: Identities, Struggles, and Triumphs in Graduate School and Beyond” is released (Palgrave MacMillan). The chapter titled “Dissertation demystified” discussed the personal obstacles that often arise for students when trying to write a dissertation, and recommends some strategies for overcoming them.

Mental Health Court

Costopoulos and team member Bethany Wellman have published “The Effectiveness of One Mental Health Court: Overcoming Criminal History.” This article examines the role of criminal history on success in the Mental Health Court and after release. Costopoulos and Wellman found that Mental Health Court did assist in lowering recidivism rates among mentally ill offenders, regardless of their criminal record, which is a substantial finding for future treatment options. The findings of the article were featured in Florida Today, NPR, and many court websites.

To further read on this article, visit

Actuarial Risk Assessment

This month’s meeting for the Forensic Psychology Students in Training,was led by Dr. Costopoulos and discussed actuarial risk assessment. 

Article Publication

Dr. Costopoulos and team alumni Dr. Rock (2016) have published “Efficacy of an experiential career curriculum on professionalism.” This study examined the impact of latent shaping, self-monitoring, and career development exercises on professionalism in undergraduate students.

Book Review Publication

Dr. Baker (FIT Professor Emeritus) and Dr. Costopoulos have published a review of the book “Turning the Tide of Male Juvenile Delinquency: The ocean tides approach” by L.C. Grebstein and J.A. Van Wyk.  It was an excellent book as a model for delinquency treatment.