PRO Scale Description
The Probation Referral Outcome is an outcome test that is administered to probationers,
more than once. Probation officers (or probation staff) may give the PRO to probationers, before referring them for treatment
and, administer it, again, when they complete treatment. However, it may be given the first time (pretest), upon
probationer admission into
a treatment, counseling, or intervention program, and, before treatment has occurred. Then, after treatment
is completed, the Probation Referral Outcome is administered to the same probationer, again. This second
testing is called the posttest (2nd test), which generates the "Comparison Report." The Probation Referral
Outcome contains eight (8) scales (measures): Truthfulness, Violence, Depression, Self-Esteem, Anxiety, Alcohol,
Drug, and Stress Management. It consists of 165 items and takes 30 minutes to complete.
There are several levels of PRO interpretation, ranging from viewing the PRO as a self-report, to interpreting scale elevations
and scale inter-relationships. The following table is a starting point for interpreting PRO scale scores.
A problem is not identified until a scale score is at the 70th percentile, or higher. Elevated, scale scores refer
to percentile scores that are at, or above the 70th percentile. Severe, problems are identified by scale scores at, or
above the 90th percentile. Severe, problems represent the highest, 11 percent of probationers evaluated with the PRO.
Measures how truthful the probationer was while completing the test. It identifies guarded and defensive
people, who attempt to "fake good." Scores that are at, or below the 89th percentile mean that all PRO scales are accurate. Scale scores
in the 70 to 89th percentile range are accurate, because they have been Truth-Corrected. Scores that are at, or above the 90th percentile
mean that all PRO scales are inaccurate (invalid), because the probationer was overly guarded, read things into test items that
aren�t there, was minimizing problems, or was attempting to fake answers. Probationers, with reading impairments might, also, score
in this 90-100th percentile scoring range. If not consciously deceptive, probationers, with elevated Truthfulness Scale scores,
are uncooperative, fail to understand test items, or have a need to appear in a good light. The Truthfulness Scale score is
important, because it shows whether, or not, the probationer answered PRO test items honestly. Truthfulness Scale scores at, or below
the 89th percentile indicate that all other PRO scale scores are accurate. One of the first things to check, when reviewing a PRO
report, is the Truthfulness Scale score. The Truthfulness Scale can be interpreted independently. Truthfulness Scale scores override
all other PRO scale scores.
Truthfulness Scale: Measures how truthful the probationer was, at both the pretest and posttest settings. This scale identifies denial,
guardedness, problem minimization, and attempts to "fake good." Comparing pretest truthfulness, to posttest truthfulness, can provide
considerable, insight into a probationer�s recovery.
Identifies probationers, who are dangerous to themselves and others. It is defined as the expression of rage and hostility,
through physical force. Violence is aggression in its most extreme and unacceptable form. Elevated scorers can be demanding, sensitive to
perceived criticism, and are insightless about how they express their anger/hostility. Severe, problem scorers should not be ignored, as they
are threatening, very dangerous, and at risk. A particularly, unstable and perilous situation involves an elevated, Violence Scale, with an
elevated Alcohol Scale, or Drug Scale score. The higher, the elevation these scale scores (e.g., Severe Problem range) are, with an elevated,
Violence Scale score -- the worse the prognosis. An elevated, Stress Management Scale, with an elevated Violence Scale score, provides insight,
regarding co-determinants and possible treatment recommendations. Loss of control results in punitive consequences, whereas, lack of control
is anxiety inducing. The Violence Scale score can be interpreted independently, or in combination with other PRO scale scores.
Violence (Lethality) Scale: Identifies probationers who are a danger to themselves and others. This scale measures the use of force, to
injure, damage, or destroy. Comparison of pretest and posttest Violence (Lethality) Scale scores focuses on the major behaviors that result
in domestic violence, counseling/treatment.
Measures alcohol use and the severity of abuse. Alcohol refers to beer, wine, and other liquor. An elevated, (70
to 89th percentile) Alcohol Scale score is indicative of an emerging drinking problem. An Alcohol Scale score in the severe problem (90
to 100th percentile) range identifies serious drinking problems. Since a history of alcohol problems could result in an abstainer (current
non-drinker) attaining a low to medium-risk score, precautions have been built into the PRO, to correctly identify �recovering alcoholics.�
It is prudent to check the probationer's answers to the self-rating of drinking (item #156) involvement and the "recovering alcoholic"
(item #158) questions.
In addition, the Alcohol Scale risk range paragraphs (printed for elevated scores), clearly, state that the probationer may
be a �recovering alcoholic.�
In intervention and treatment settings, the probationer�s Alcohol Scale score helps staff work through the probationer�s denial. Most people
accept the objective and standardized Alcohol Scale score as accurate and relevant, in comparison to a person�s subjective opinion. This is
particularly true, when it is explained that elevated scores don�t occur by chance. The probationer must answer a definite pattern of
alcohol-related admissions, for elevated scores to occur. And, scale scores are based on scores of thousands of probationers, who have completed
An elevated, Alcohol Scale score, in conjunction with other elevated scores, magnifies the severity of the other, elevated scores. For example,
if you have a probationer with an elevated Violence Scale, who also has an elevated, Alcohol Scale score, that person is even more dangerous when
drinking. In summary, the Alcohol Scale can be interpreted independently, or in conjunction with other elevated scores.
Alcohol Scale: Measures the probationer�s use and the severity of alcohol abuse. Alcohol refers to beer, wine, and other liquors. Alcohol is
all, too often, involved in violent settings. The Alcohol Scale measures a probationer's alcohol proneness and alcohol-related problems. This
is an important area of inquiry, when evaluating risk.
Measures illicit drug use and the severity of abuse. Drugs refer to marijuana, cocaine, crack, ice, amphetamines,
barbiturates, and heroin. These are illicit substances. An elevated, (70 to 89th percentile) Drug Scale score is indicative of an emerging
drug problem. A Drug Scale score in the severe problem, (90 to 100th percentile) range identifies serious illicit drug abusers.
A history of drug-related problems could result in an abstainer (drug history, but not presently using drugs) attaining a low to medium-risk
score. Precautions have been built into the PRO, to correctly identify �recovering drug abusers� (item #158).
In intervention and treatment settings, the probationer�s Drug Scale score helps staff work through probationer denial. And, an elevated, Drug
Scale score, in conjunction with other elevated scale scores, magnifies the severity of the other, elevated scores. For example, an elevated,
Violence Scale, in conjunction with an elevated Drug Scale score, increases the severity and risk associated with the Violence Scale. In summary,
the Drug Scale can be interpreted independently, or in conjunction with other elevated scales.
Drug Scale: Measures illicit drug use and the severity of abuse. Drugs refer to marijuana, crack, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, and
heroin. Illicit drugs appear to have a growing presence in domestic violence settings.
Measures excessive worry about everyday real life, problems. Worries are excessive, pervasive, and pronounced. They
can become focal sources of concern and interfere with relationships, social functioning, occupational performance, and other activities. An
elevated, (70th percentile and higher) Anxiety Scale score reflects disruptive anxiety and worry. The higher the Anxiety Scale score, the more
severe the problem. Severe, (90 to 100th percentile) Anxiety Scale scores are associated with intense, pervasive, and pronounced apprehension
and, worries that can seriously disrupt ongoing, life activities. Acute feelings of tension, agitation, and apprehension, along with anxious
expectations, permeate the probationer's life.
Other problems and disorders have been linked to anxiety. These include, but are not limited to, the other Probation Referral Outcome scales
(or more specifically, the problems and disorders they represent). For example, recent or prolonged substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse
could result in a Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder. There is also an Anxiety and Depressed Mood. Anxiety appears to be inherent (or a component
or factor) in many Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) diagnosis. Some maintain that any kind of discomfort or illness
can foster anxiety and fear. First year, college students, often, refer to anxiety as "non-directed fear." The Anxiety Scale can be interpreted
independently. However, when other scales are also elevated, focus is, then, placed upon elevated scale interactions.
Anxiety Scale: Measures nervousness, apprehension, and somatic correlation of anxiety. This score varies directly with experienced symptoms.
Most definitions of anxiety include a sympathetically-induced feeling, associated with a sense of threat. General symptoms, such as nervousness,
apprehension, and tenseness, are included in this definition, as are panic, terror, and somatic correlates of anxiety.
Depression is one of the most, commonly occurring, mental health disorders affecting the U.S. population. Signs of
depression include chronic sadness, loss of interest, and pleasure in daily activities (e.g., social, occupational, recreational, etc.), depressed
concentration, and feelings of worthlessness. The Probation Referral Outcome Depression Scale identifies depression and quantifies symptom severity.
The higher the Depression Scale score, the more severe the depression. Elevated, (70th percentile and higher) Depression Scale scores identify
patients in the early to middle stages of depression. A severe Depression Scale score (90 to 100th percentile) represents severe depression.
The Depression Scale score can be interpreted as a self-report, or in terms of its interactions with other Probation Referral Outcome scale
scores. Probationers, with depression, are at greater risk for suicide. Alcohol and drug abuse can also reflect attempts of self-medication.
Other, elevated, (70th percentile and above) PRO scale scores, usually, mean there is an interaction effect that can exacerbate reactions, among
the elevated scale scores. More specifically, the problems and disorders, represented by the elevated scores, can interact. Such interaction
can contribute to exacerbated or magnified problems. Depression symptoms are, especially, dangerous, when combined with co-morbid problems and
disorders, like substance (alcohol and drug) abuse, intense anxiety, suicide ideation, and impaired self-esteem.
Depression is treatable. Contingent upon symptom severity, treatment approaches, often, combine psychotherapy with prescribed medication. An
integrated, treatment approach should incorporate co-morbid disorders, when present. Several, effective psychotherapies are available. Cognitive
Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is popular and effective, when treating depression.
Depression Scale: Depression is described as a dejected or self-depreciating emotional state that varies from normal to pathological
proportions. General symptoms, such as melancholy and dysphoric mood are included in this definition, as are impaired, social-vocational
functioning and loss of interest in usual activities. In addition, thoughts of suicide and other cognitive, as well as somatic correlates
of depression are included in the Depression Scale.
Stress Management Scale:
Measures how well the probationer copes with stress. It is, now, known that stress exacerbates symptoms of
mental and emotional problems. Thus, an elevated, Stress Management Scale score, in conjunction with other elevated PRO scale scores, helps
explain the probationer�s situation. For example, when a person doesn�t handle stress well, other existing problems are exacerbated. This
problem augmentation applies to substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse, violence (lethality), and stress-related problems.
An elevated, Stress Management Scale score can also exacerbate emotional and mental health symptomatology. When a Stress Management Scale score
is in the severe problem (90 to 100th percentile) range, it is likely that the probationer has a diagnosable, mental health problem. In these
instances, referral to a certified/ licensed mental health professional is warranted, to obtain a diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan. Lower,
elevated scores suggest less intensive, referral alternatives, like a stress management program. In summary, the Stress Management Scale can be
interpreted independently, or in conjunction with other elevated scales.
Stress Management Scale: Measures the probationer�s ability to cope with or manage their stress, anxiety and pressure. In addition, stress
exacerbates emotional and mental health symptomatology. This scale is a non-introversive screen for established emotional and mental health
Measures the probationer�s feelings of self-acceptance and self-worth. Self-Esteem reflects a probationer�s, explicit,
valuing and appraisal of self. Self-esteem incorporates an attitude of acceptance -- approval, versus rejection - disapproval. Self-esteem
refers to a person�s perception of self. The Self-Esteem Scale score represents the person one believes oneself to be. Negative self-esteem
has been related to maladjustment. The theory goes: �the probationer sees themselves as bad or worthless and acts accordingly.� An elevated,
(70 to 89th percentile) range score reflects impaired self-esteem. A pattern of self-rejection and disapproval is apparent. The probationer
has a poor self-perception. Sometimes, this is associated with guilt, remorse, or shame. A severe problem, (90 to 100th percentile) Self-Esteem
Scale score is often characterized by shame, humiliation, uncertainty and, even, unbearable worry. The probationer disapproves of himself or
herself. Elevated Violence, Depression, Anxiety, Alcohol, Drug, and Stress Management Scales, with the Self-Esteem scores are problematic and could
represent suicidal or homicidal ideation. And, substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse can foster, even, more disapproval of self. The higher
these scale scores are, the more perilous and threatening, the probationer�s situation becomes. The Self-Esteem Scale can be interpreted
independently, or in combination with other PRO scales. Many professionals believe that a person�s behavior is a reflection of their self-esteem.
The concept of self-esteem is widely used in clinical settings.
Self-Esteem Scale: Self-esteem refers to a person's perception of himself or herself. It reflects an explicit valuing and appraisal of oneself.
Self-esteem incorporates an attitude of acceptance-approval, versus rejection-disapproval of oneself. The Self-Esteem Scale is descriptive of the
person one believes oneself to be.
In conclusion, it was noted that there are several levels of Probation Referral Outcome (PRO) interpretation, ranging from viewing the PRO as a
self-report, to interpreting scale elevations and interrelationships. Scale scores can, also, be interpreted individually. Staff can, then, put PRO
findings, within the context of the probationer�s life situation.
Probation Referral Outcome. Copyright © Protected. 2011, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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