Richard Rogers, Ph.D., ABPP


Tests Developed:
Rogers Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales
Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms

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Dick Rogers was born halfway through the twentieth century (January 1, 1950) to a family of humble means in Worcester, Massachusetts. Much of his childhood was spent in the Main-South neighborhood, then referred to euphemistically as a "slum." Although kept somewhat distant from the streetwise kids who roamed the streets, he was exposed at an early age to the true diversity of human experience. With as many as three roomers sharing the family’s seven-room apartment and single bath, he experienced an end-stage alcoholic with florid delirium tremens; a Native American fighting with his dad over pride and rent money; and an isolated Albanian, proud of his heritage. Summers were an entirely different world: old family property on Cape Cod with sandy beaches peopled with middle-class folk.

In a family strongly valuing education, Dick was seen as less academically capable than his older brother. Despite these firmly held perceptions, Dick began to flourish at Worcester State College where he majored in English literature and graduated summa cum laude in 1972. However, by the second semester of his junior year, he realized that psychology and not English literature was his chosen career path. With only six undergraduate courses in psychology, Ph.D. programs overlooked him. With renewed determination, he completed an M.A. program at Assumption College in 1973 and was accepted by Utah State University for doctoral training, which he completed in 1976.

His initial career aspirations were to treat the "worried-well" in a middle-class community. However, practicum and early professional experiences, perhaps influenced by childhood background, led him to seek out forensic psychology as a speciality. Lured by good pay and a guaranteed position six months prior to graduation, Dick accepted a position at a forensic hospital. Within six months, he was promoted to unit program director and was responsible for more than 30 staff. Somewhat scarred by this early bout with administration and restless in a small farming community, he moved to Chicago as one of the four founding members of a university-based center for the evaluation and treatment of forensic patients at Rush Medical School. The dynamic and competitive culture of a medical school setting

suited him well. His research program led to the development of his first psychological measure.

As Dick became more involved in insanity evaluations, he was increasingly troubled by the plethora of unsubstantiated opinions, buttressed by self-promoted expertise in the absence of empirical data. The need for a systematic method of conducting insanity evaluations was obvious. In searching for paradigms, Dick was influenced by Dr. Ron Roesch’s research efforts on competency to stand trial and Dr. Chris Webster’s studies of pretrial assessments. In early 1979, he formed a weekly study group to begin to struggle with the essential components of insanity evaluations. A prototype measure, Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales, was devised in 1980, composed on 23 variables and a psycholegal decision model. This model was first tested on ten diverse case vignettes with ratings completed by three forensic psychologists and four forensic psychiatrists. Based on this pilot study, items were refined and clinical descriptions were added to the clinician-based ratings.

At this time, clinical-forensic psychology was in its infancy: The American Board of Forensic Psychology had been founded in 1978 and most forensic psychologists still practiced in the shadow of forensic psychiatrists. These early stages of clinical-forensic psychology were also a time of great enthusiasm and cooperation. Based both on Dick’s perseverance and the emerging professional zeitgeist, Dick was able to enlist several excellent collaborators. His two primary research sites were the Rush Medical School in Chicago and the Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Toledo. These sites were augmented by data from five additional forensic centers.

Its current name, Rogers Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales (R-CRAS), forms the basis of an instructive anecdote about professional rivalry. In the face of possible encroachment on the authorship of his test by a psychiatrist and administrator at Rush Medical School, Dick followed the advice of a friend and eminent psychiatrist, Dr. Bill Reid, and appended the name "Rogers" to the measure. The attempted exploitation was halted.


The R-CRAS was published in 1984 by the then-fledgling test firm, Psychological Assessment Resources. Dick continued to research the R-CRAS until the late 1980s when his departure from Chicago reduced his access to insanity evaluations. His dream that other investigators would be spurred by his efforts and develop more extensive and better-validated measures was not realized. The R-CRAS (Rogers, 1984) remains the only standardized instrument for the assessment of criminal responsibility.

In the late 1980s, academic efforts were increasingly circumscribed as fee-for-service efforts were necessitated by financial cutbacks. Dick was faced with an important decision: either profit financially from service provision by increasing his independent practice or find a more academic position where he could engage in what he loved—"writing and research. Born poor, he remains proud of his decision to reduce his income by $20,000 to accept an academic position at the Clarke Institute, University of Toronto.

Given the adversarial nature of forensic evaluations and the often high stakes for forensic patients, Dick became engrossed in how to assess response styles, especially malingering. As he wrote in 1983 and continues to believe, malingering is an explosive issue. Once raised, irrespective of the clinical evidence, malingering is likely to play a decisive role in forensic evaluations. He was very troubled that critical decisions on malingering were rendered on a paucity of empirical data. Simple rules for the MMPI were treated as sacrosanct; high elevations on Scale F were routinely treated as "fake-bad" without consideration of alternative explanations (e.g., illiteracy or psychotic confusion).

In 1984, Dick wrote a seminal review of malingering indicators, integrating case studies with psychometric research and analogue studies of deception. This review became, several years later, the initial template for his second psychological measure, Structured Interview of Reported  Symptoms (SIRS; Rogers et al., 1992). His first efforts were spent attempting to create an MMPI-type inventory for the assessment of response styles. However, he

realized that several detection strategies could not be successfully implemented in a paper-and-pencil format. He was also concerned about enduring problems with reading comprehension and psychotic interference, both of which could confound interpretation.

Tested in 1987, the first prototype for the SIRS examined 12 interview-based strategies for the detection of malingering. Many items were rewritten because they were obviously bogus. More blatant questions were divided into two: (a) a relatively innocuous threshold question and (b) a more obvious probe. In addition, a set of everyday problems were added to reduce the transparency of the SIRS. An important decision involved the research design. While most researchers were content to conduct only simulation studies as experimental analogues, Dick combined the rigor of simulation studies with the ecological validity of known-groups comparison. Published in 1992, the SIRS has been considered the standard for the assessment of feigned disorders. As summarized by Rogers (1997), a body of literature of other investigators has demonstrated the validity and clinical utility of the SIRS.

Advice to Test Developers

Dick is very worried about the future of traditional psychological assessment. In the 1950s, clinical psychologists had obvious advantages over other mental health professionals in their ability to evaluate patients on standardized measures. That advantage has eroded steadily during the past several decades with incursions by other professionals and the rampant commercialization of psychological measures. Test developers are needed more than ever to develop new methods of psychological assessment. Many psychologists and most test developers have overlooked a great, relatively untapped potential of psychological assessment—"namely structured interviews. His book, Diagnostic and Structured Interviewing: A Handbook for Psychologists (Rogers, 1995), is intended to provide a new standard of sophistication for the assessment of Axis I and Axis II disorders and provide a template for test developers.


Test publication has rapidly evolved into a highly competitive business, motivated by profit. The leadership of most test firms has changed from psychologists to business administrators. A concomitant shift in business goals from serving psychologists to increasing profits can be observed at nearly every test firm. This trend has two important implications for test developers. First, more unvalidated measures are published by test firms to increase the "product line"; publishers no longer uphold high standards for test developers. Second, author contracts have become a means of maximizing profits. Many test firms demand that all intellectual rights be assigned to them, offer royalties as low as 5 percent, and pay royalties less often (once or twice per year) to maximize their profits and working capital. Test developers must heed how lower standards and increased competitiveness will affect their willingness to embark on this adventure.

References

Rogers, R. (1984). Rogers Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales (R-CRAS) and test manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Rogers, R. (1995). Diagnostic and structured interviewing: A handbook for psychologists. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Rogers, R. (Ed.) (1997). Clinical assessment of malingering and deception (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.

Rogers, R., Bagby, R. M., & Dickens, S. E. (1992). Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms (SIRS) and professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.



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