Substance Abuse Questionnaire - Adult Probation III
Adult probationer (male & female) assessment
The SAQ-Adult Probation III is designed for adult (male and female)
probationer assessment. It takes 30 minutes to complete and printed reports are available on-site in 2½ minutes. The SAQ-Adult
Probation III is used in many probation departments throughout the U.S. and some Canadian territories. This test has been
administered on over 189,000 probationers. It is a popular test with proven reliability, validity and accuracy.
** SAQ-Adult Probation III **
Adult probationer (male & female) assessment.
Adult probationer (misdemeanor and felony) evaluation.
Probation departments and court-related assessment settings.
Help determine probationer risk, establish levels of probation and ascertain needs.
Substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse intake screening.
Violence (Lethality) assessment.
Helps in the identification of appropriate intervention, counseling and treatment alternatives.
The SAQ-Adult Probation III is an automated (computer-scored) adult (male & female) assessment instrument or
test. It has 149 items and takes 30 minutes to complete. The SAQ-Adult Probation III has 7 measures (scales):
Violence (Lethality) Scale,
Antisocial Scale, 4. Aggressiveness Scale,
5. Alcohol Scale,
Drugs Scale and 7. Stress Coping Abilities Scale.
The SAQ-Adult Probation III is used in many probation departments in the United States. It has been administered to
over 189,000 probationers and is appropiate for misdemeanor and felony assessment.
The SAQ-Adult Probation III has 7 separate scales (measures). These include:
Determines how honest the client was while completing the test. This
scale identifies defensiveness, problem minimization and faking.
Measures the severity of alcohol abuse and related problems. Alcohol
refers to beer, wine and other liquor. Alcohol is a legal or licit substance.
Drugs Scale: Measures illicit drug use and related problems.
Drugs refer to marijuana, crack, cocaine, barbiturates, amphetamines and heroin. The
Drugs Scale is independent of the Alcohol Scale.
Violence (Lethality) Scale:
Measures the use of force to injure, damage or destroy. It identifies
people who are a danger to themselves or others. Violence incorporates
both physical and emotional abuse.
Antisocial Scale: Measures aggressive, impulsive and sometimes
violent behavior that opposes society and moral codes. This behavior includes socially
destructive and antisocial acts characterized by a lack of
responsibility, poor judgment and impaired moral values.
Measures strong self-assertiveness, social dominance and a tendency
toward hostility. These individuals can be persistent and verbally or
physically assaultive. They typically lack empathy.
Stress Coping Abilities
Scale: Measures one's ability to cope effectively with tension,
stress and pressure. Stress exacerbates emotional and mental health
symptoms. This is a non-introversive way to screen the presence of
serious mental health problems.
More than just another alcohol or drug test. In addition to
alcohol and drugs, the SAQ-Adult Probation III assesses other important areas of inquiry like truthfulness, violence proneness,
antisocial attitudes, aggressiveness and stress coping abilities. This test is specifically designed for probationer (male and
female) assessment; consequently, it measures behaviors missed by other tests.
The SAQ-Adult Probation III measures attitudes and behaviors that combine into a probationer profile. Paper-pencil test
administration takes 25 to 30 minutes, and tests are computer-scored on-site with reports printed within 2½ minutes.
"Appropriate for misdemeanor and felony assessment"
SAQ-Adult Probation III test booklets and answer sheets are provided free. These booklets contain 149
items (true/false and multiple choice), which are written at a high 5th
to 6th grade level. If a person can read the newspaper, they can
read the SAQ-Adult Probation III. And, these test booklets are available in English and Spanish.
In brief, SAQ-Adult Probation III reports summarize the probationer's self-reported history, explain what
attained scale scores mean and contain specific score-related recommendations.
Within 2½ minutes of test data entry, automated (computer-scored) 3-page reports are printed on-site. These reports
summarize a lot of information in an easily understood format. For example, these reports include a scale profile (graph)
that summarizes probationer findings at a glance. Also included are attained scale scores, an explanation of what each
score means and specific score-related recommendations.
Significant items (direct admissions) are highlighted, and answers to the built-in multiple choice (last section of
multiple choice items) are presented. Emphasis is placed on meaningful reports that are helpful and easily understood.
To go directly to the example SAQ-Adult Probation III report, click on the
Probation III Report link. After reviewing the report, you can return to this section by clicking on the "Return
to SAQ-Adult Probation III Reports Section" link.
The SAQ-Adult Probation III is available in MS-DOS or Windows format. DOS diskettes contain
all their own software. Windows diskettes require a one-time computer
setup procedure after which SAQ-Adult Probation III data diskettes are used. Training
manuals are provided, and new test users can be walked through these
procedures over Behavior Data Systems, Ltd.'s (BDS) telephone line.
Proprietary SAQ-Adult Probation III diskettes contain 25 or 50 test applications. These 3½" data
diskettes score, interpret and print SAQ-Adult Probation III reports on-site. Once an
SAQ-Adult Probation III account is established, ordered diskettes are
mailed to users. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of orders are placed in the
return mail within twenty-four hours. When all test applications are used,
diskettes are returned to Behavior Data Systems where the test data and demographics are
downloaded into the SAQ-Adult Probation III database for subsequent
research analysis. The proprietary "delete names" program is activated by
the test user with a few keystrokes to delete all client names from
diskettes before they are returned to Behavior Data Systems. Deleting all client/probationer names
insures client confidentiality and compliance with HIPAA (federal
regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501).
SAQ-Adult Probation III Database
The SAQ-Adult Probation III system contains a
proprietary database. Earlier, it was noted that all SAQ-AP III used
diskettes are returned to Behavior Data Systems, and the test data along
with related demographics (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) are
downloaded into the SAQ-Adult Probation III database. This database (over 189,000 SAQ-Adult
Probation III tests) allows ongoing research and testing program summary --
capabilities that were not possible before. Ongoing research insures
quality control. Test program summaries provide program self-evaluation.
"SAQ-Adult Probation III database contains over 189,000 tests"
The SAQ-Adult Probation III permits ongoing research and annual program summary -- at no additional
cost. As discussed earlier, when the 25 or 50 tests on a diskette are
used, that diskette is returned to Behavior Data Systems, checked for any
viruses and downloaded into the SAQ-Adult Probation III expanding database. This
proprietary database includes over 189,000 probationers' test data.
Advantages of a built-in database are many and include database (research) analysis and annual summary reports.
No personal information, names, social security numbers, etc. are ever downloaded into any
Returned SAQ-Adult Probation III diskettes from a probation department, court or agency can be selected from the
database for research and analysis. The SAQ-Adult Probation III is restandardized annually on a probation department by
probation department basis -- at no cost to users. Database analysis insures quality control.
After downloading test data returned diskettes are destroyed.
Similarly, returned diskettes can be summarized on a state, probation department or agency basis -- at no
additional cost to users. This provides users with a 12-month testing program self-report. To review an
Summary Report, click on the
Summary Report link.
In summary, having all used SAQ-Adult Probation III test data centrally filed at
Behavior Data Systems' offices has many
advantages. Database analysis permits ongoing cost efficient research that includes scale alpha coefficients, frequency
distributions, correlations, ANOVA, cross-tab statistics along with reliability, validity and accuracy determinations. We
continue to study the effects of demographics and are undertaking recidivism prediction studies. To review a research study,
click on the
SAQ-Adult Probation III Research Study link.
Annual Summary Reports
Behavior Data Systems can access each of its tests' built-in databases for statistical analysis and summarization of all
tests administered in a year. Annual Summary Reports are prepared for state, department, agency and even some individual
providers -- at no cost to them. These reports are provided as a professional courtesy to large volume test users. Summary
reports include demographics, court-history when relevant, and test statistics (reliability, validity and accuracy). Has
anyone offered to summarize your testing program? Annually? At no additional cost to you? Minimum testing volume for
annual reports is 350 tests. There is no maximum limit. Behavior Data
Systems' annual reports range in size from 350 tests to
over 55,000 tests annually. An example Annual Summary Report can be viewed by clicking on this
Annual Summary Report link.
Reliability, validity and accuracy. The SAQ-Adult Probation
III has a built-in database that insures inclusion of all tests administered in a confidential (no names) manner. Over
189,000 probationers' test data are represented in the SAQ-Adult Probation III database. And, these reliability, validity
and accuracy statistics are reported in the document titled "SAQ: An Inventory of Scientific Findings." Annual
database analysis has shown that SAQ-Adult Probation III scales maintain very high reliability coefficients and minimum interscale correlations.
For example, the internal consistencies (coefficient alphas) for SAQ-Adult Probation III scales are reported for
3,484 probationers screened in the year 2000. This is only one among several year 2000 samples (or studies).
SAQ-Adult Probation III reliability, validity and accuracy are reported in the "SAQ-Adult Probation III:
Normative Study" research study (11-16-02). This research is presented at the end of this webpage. Interested parties
can go directly to this study by clicking on the
SAQ-Adult Probation III: Normative Study link.
SAQ-AP III (N=3,484, 2000)
SAQ-AP III Scales
Stress Coping Abilities
All SAQ-Adult Probation III scales have alpha coefficients well above the professionally accepted
standard of .75 and are highly reliable. All of these coefficient alphas are significant at the p<.001 level.
SAQ-Adult Probation III research extends over 17 years. Many studies have been conducted on thousands (not just hundreds)
of probationers using several validation methods. Early studies used criterion measures and were validated with many other
tests, e.g., Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) L-Scale, MMPI F-Scale, Prison Inmate Inventory, Defendant
Questionnaire, 16PF, MMPI Psychopathic Deviate Scale, polygraph examination, MMPI Anxiety Scale, MAS (Taylor Manifest
Anxiety) Scale, TSC-VII (Tension, Worry) Scale, etc. Much of this research is summarized in the document titled "SAQ:
An Inventory of Scientific Findings." Subsequently, many discriminant validity and predictive validity (treatment
versus non-treatment) database studies support SAQ-Adult Probation III reliability, validity and accuracy. SAQ-Adult
Probation III norms are updated annually for each SAQ-AP III scale. Separate norms are available for gender (male and
female), ethnicity (Caucasian, Black, Hispanic), geographic (state-by-state) regions, etc.
Research Publication: Nebraska Probation Department's Intensive
Supervision Probation (ISP) selection process was automated with Behavior
Data Systems tests. These tests include the Driver
Risk Inventory-II, SAQ-Adult Probation III, Domestic Violence Inventory and the ACDI-Corrections Version II. This research
is reported in Edward C. Birkel and David L. Wegner's article (2000). "Accurate Intensive Supervision Probation
Selection: Revisited." American Probation and Parole Association, Perspectives, Vol. 24, #4 Fall, pp. 18-21. To read
this article click on the
Perspectives Research Article link.
Fairness: SAQ-Adult Probation III research goes
beyond reliability and validity. Fairness incorporates demographic groups
(age, gender, ethnicity). This fairness/demographic research is ongoing in
nature. SAQ-Adult Probation III scale scoring equations are adjusted, as
warranted, on an annual basis to insure fairness.
Staff Member Input:
Some people advocate fully automated assessment. Behavior Data Systems
does not. The SAQ-Adult Probation III is to be used in conjunction with
experienced staff judgment. When available, court and probation records
should be reviewed because they can contain important information not
provided or incorrectly provided by the probationer. Experienced staff
should also interview the client. For these reasons, the following
statement is contained on each SAQ-Adult Probation III report: "SAQ-Adult Probation III results are confidential
and are working hypotheses. No diagnosis or decision should be based solely upon these
results. These test results are to be used in conjunction with experienced staff judgment and review of available records."
Identifies denial, problem minimization and faking. It is now clear that many probationers attempt to minimize
their problems. A Truthfulness Scale is now a necessary component in contemporary probationer tests. The SAQ-Adult
Probation III Truthfulness Scale has been validated with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI),
polygraph exams, other tests, experienced staff judgment and truthfulness studies. The Truthfulness Scale has been
demonstrated to be reliable, valid and accurate. In some respects, the SAQ-Adult Probation III Truthfulness Scale is
similar to the MMPI's L and F-Scales. It consists of a number of items that most people agree or disagree with.
have proven to be very important for
assessment accuracy. The proprietary truth correction program is comparable to the MMPI K-Scale correction. The SAQ-Adult
Probation III Truthfulness Scale has been correlated with the 6 other scales. The Truth Correction equation then converts
raw scores to Truth-Corrected scores. Truth-Corrected scores are more accurate than raw scores. Raw scores
reflect what the client wants you to know. Truth-Corrected scores reveal what the client is trying to hide.
Violence (Lethality) Scale:
Boils down to identifying people who are a
danger to themselves and others. Violence is defined as "the expression of
hostility and rage through physical force directed against persons or
property." It is aggression in an extreme and unacceptable form, which is
why Behavior Data Systems includes the term "lethality" in parentheses.
Measuring violence enables SAQ-Adult Probation III users to identify
people capable of harming themselves and others. Extremely violent
(lethal) individuals score at or above the 90th percentile on
the Violence (Lethality) Scale, and these people are dangerous. This is a
very important, yet often overlooked, behavior pattern.
"A Violence (Lethality) Scale
and Antisocial Scale"
Measures the degree to which a person is opposed to society or moral
codes. Antisocial tendencies refer to aggressive behavior that is either
socially destructive or has socially undesirable consequences. Antisocial
behavior often incorporates aggressive, impulsive and even violent actions
that flout social and ethical codes, such as laws. Antisocial behavior is
characterized by a lack of judgment, a seeming inability to learn from
experience and what used to be called sociopathic behavior. When a person
manifests antisocial tendencies, they are dangerous. When a person has
antisocial tendencies along with violence prone attitudes/behaviors, that person is particularly dangerous.
Aggressiveness Scale: Aggressiveness is often defined in terms of
punitive behavior. And, we are familiar with the aggressive-frustration hypothesis that postulates aggressive behavior is
largely a response to frustration. The Aggressiveness Scale refers to a person's ranking on an outgoing to assaultive
behavior scale. High Risk scores on the Aggressiveness Scale manifest strong self-assertiveness, social dominance and a
tendency toward hostility.
Stress Coping Abilities Scale:
Measures how well the probationer handles stress, tension and pressure.
How well a person manages stress can effect their adjustment and mental
health. We now know that stress exacerbates emotional and mental health
problems. This scale is a non-introversive way to screen established
(diagnosable) mental health problems. A probationer scoring at or above the 90th percentile
on the Stress Coping Abilities Scale should be referred for a more
comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis. This important area of inquiry is
missed by other probationer screening tests.
More than just
another alcohol or drug test. In addition to
alcohol and drugs, the SAQ-Adult Probation III assesses other important
areas of inquiry like truthfulness, denial and faking, violence
(lethality) proneness, antisocial attitudes, aggressiveness and stress
coping abilities. The SAQ-Adult Probation III is specifically designed for probationer
assessment. It provides the information needed for understanding
probationer attitudes and behavior.
Three ways to give
the SAQ-Adult Probation III. The SAQ-Adult Probation III can be administered in three different ways:
1. Paper-pencil test booklet format is the most popular testing
procedure. SAQ-Adult Probation III English and Spanish test booklets are available.
2. SAQ-Adult Probation III tests can be given
directly on the computer screen. Some probation departments dedicate
computers for SAQ-Adult Probation III testing.
Human voice audio in
English and Spanish. This approach involves a computer, a headset and the probationer
uses the up-down arrow keys. As the client goes from question to answer
with the arrow keys, each question and answer is highlighted on the monitor
(screen) and simultaneously read to the client. The three administration
modes are discussed in the "SAQ-Adult Probation III: Orientation and Training Manual." Each
test administration mode has advantages and some limitations. Behavior
Data Systems offers these three testing modes so test users can select the
administration mode that is optimally suited to their needs.
Reading Impaired Assessment. Reading impaired probationers
represent 20+ percent of probationers tested. This represents a serious
problem to many other probationer tests. In contrast, Behavior Data
Systems has developed an alternative for dealing with this problem, i.e.,
a short form of the SAQ-Adult Probation III and "human voice audio."
"'Human voice audio'
for the reading impaired"
Human Voice Audio
presentation of the SAQ-Adult Probation III in English and Spanish helps overcome many
reading and cultural difference issues. A probationer's passive vocabulary
is often greater than their active (or spoken) vocabulary. Hearing items
read out loud often helps reduce both cultural and communication problems.
This human voice audio administration requires a computer, earphones and
simple instructions regarding how to operate the up-down arrow keys on the computer keyboard.
As many as 20% or more of adult probationers are reading impaired. The SAQ-Short Form is for use with the reading
impaired. It is also used in high volume testing programs. The SAQ-Short Form is a 64-item assessment instrument or
test that can be completed in 10 to 15 minutes. It is written at a 5th grade reading level. Upon completion, a
one-page report is available on-site within 2 minutes. To visit the SAQ-Short Form webpage, click on the
SAQ-Short Form link. This link is also provided at the end of this webpage.
SHORT FORM SCALES (MEASURES)
Truthfulness Scale: Identifies guarded and defensive clients. It
Alcohol Scale: Measures the severity of alcohol use and abuse.
Alcohol refers to beer, wine and other liquors.
Drugs Scale: Measures the severity of illicit drug use. Drugs
refer to marijuana, crack, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates and heroin.
Risk Scale: Measures the extent to which the respondent is a
danger to self or others. This scale identifies problem-prone individuals.
SAQ-Short Form Scale Correlations
SAQ-Short Form scale scores are highly correlated with SAQ-Adult Probation III scores. A high correlation coefficient
between the Short Form and the standard form means that there is a high degree of relationship between the two forms.
Correlation coefficients vary from zero to 1, where zero correlation means there is no relationship, and 1 means that two
variables are perfectly related. Correlation coefficients between the SAQ-Short Form and SAQ-Adult Probation III are very
close to perfect correlation.
Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficients
Between SAQ-Short Form Scale Scores and SAQ-Adult Probation III Scale Scores
These results show that SAQ-Short Form scale scores are highly correlated with SAQ-Adult Probation III scale scores. A
high correlation coefficient means that there is a high degree of relatedness between the two forms. In the above table,
SAQ-Short Form scale items were correlated against the SAQ-Adult Probation III scales in this sample of SAQ-Adult Probation
III data. SAQ-Short Form scales are subsets of SAQ-Adult Probation III scales (same or similar items are in both tests) and
they are shown to be highly correlated with the SAQ-Adult Probation III scales. Along with having fewer items per scale the
SAQ-Short Form Risk Scale is a short combination of SAQ-Adult Probation III Violence Scale, Antisocial Scale and
Aggressiveness Scale test items. Also, the Stress Coping Abilities Scale is not included in the SAQ-Short Form. For adult
offender assessment, test users now have a choice: SAQ-Adult Probation III or SAQ-Short Form.
Validity analyses confirm that the SAQ-Short Form measures what it purports to measure. These findings are reported in
"SAQ-Short Form Reliability and Validity in a Large Sample of Adult Offenders (N = 7,986) Studied in the Year 2002."
To go directly to this research study, click on the
SAQ-Short Form Research Study link.
Behavior Data Systems encourages test users to delete
probationers' names from diskettes before they are returned to Behavior Data
Systems. Once probationer names are deleted, they are
gone and cannot be retrieved. Deleting probationer names does not delete demographics or test data, which is downloaded into
the SAQ-Adult Probation III database for subsequent analysis. This proprietary name deletion procedure involves a few
keystrokes and insures client confidentiality and compliance with HIPAA
(federal regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501).
Test Data Input Verification allows the person that inputs test data
from the answer sheet into the computer to verify the accuracy of their data input. In brief, test data is input twice, and
any inconsistencies between the first and second data entries are highlighted until corrected. When the first and second data
entries match or are the same, staff can continue. This proprietary Test Data Input Verification procedure is optional, yet it
is strongly recommended by Behavior Data Systems.
"Provides a sound empirical
basis for decisions"
Inventory of Scientific Findings: Much of the SAQ-Adult Probation III
research has been gathered together in one document titled "SAQ: An Inventory of Scientific Findings." This document
summarizes SAQ-Adult Probation III research chronologically - as the studies were completed. This innovative chronological
reporting format was established largely because of the SAQ-Adult Probation III database, which permits annual database analysis
of all tests administered. It also allows the reader to observe the evolution of the SAQ-Adult Probation III into its current
state-of-the-art position. You can go directly to an SAQ-Adult Probation III research study by clicking on the
SAQ-Adult Probation III Research Study link.
Behavior Data Systems' staff is available to participate in SAQ-Adult Probation III training programs conducted by probation
departments, courts and assessment agencies in the United States. Behavior
Data Systems typically participates in 4-hour or 6-hour SAQ-AP III training sessions. This training can include hands-on computer scoring, as desired.
Behavior Data Systems gives attendees
certificates attesting to their training.
Staff training is also provided on Fridays at Behavior Data Systems' Phoenix offices from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or from 1:30
p.m. to 4:30 p.m. These training sessions are free. To participate, contact
Behavior Data Systems at least ten days in advance.
Participation is on a first call, first scheduled basis.
"More than just another
alcohol or drug test"
Why Select the SAQ-Adult Probation III?
The SAQ-Adult Probation III meets and exceeds most probationer screening criteria. It is endorsed by users and is widely
used in the United States. There are over 189,000 probationers' SAQ-Adult Probation III test data in the SAQ-Adult Probation
III database. The SAQ-Adult Probation III has been repeatedly demonstrated to be reliable, valid and accurate. Ongoing research
continues to study and adjust for demographics like age, gender and ethnicity (race).
The SAQ-Adult Probation III's seven scales measure truthfulness, quantify alcohol and drug abuse, assess violence
(lethality) propensity, examine antisocial attitudes while measuring aggressiveness and stress coping abilities. Screening
stress coping abilities allows non-introversive identification of the presence of established emotional and mental health problems.
The SAQ-Adult Probation III's built-in database facilitates cost efficient database analysis and annual testing
program summary reports. These two unique features -- ongoing database analysis and annual summary reports -- are provided
Edward C. Birkel's article "Accurate Intensive Supervision Probation Selection: Revisited" (Perspectives, Volume
24, November 4, Fall 2000) discusses the use of the SAQ-Adult Probation III in the selection of probationers for intensive
supervision probation (ISP). "The results of this study demonstrate that accurate ISP offender selections can be achieved
through the combined use of criminal history information and behavioral factors from offender assessment instruments or
tests." The tests used in this study are: SAQ-Adult Probation III, Driver Risk Inventory-II, ACDI-Corrections Version II
(juvenile test), and the Domestic Violence Inventory. All of these tests are provided by
Behavior Data Systems. To review this
article, click on the
Perspectives Article link.
Probationers' SAQ-Adult Probation III reports are timely (available on-site in 2½ minutes), readable and easy to
understand. Score-related recommendations are relevant. It's reasonable to conclude the SAQ-Adult Probation III is the
state-of-the-art in contemporary probationer assessment and screening. And,
Behavior Data Systems doesn't stop there! The SAQ-Adult Probation III is very affordable. Click on the SAQ-Adult Probation III
Test Unit Fee (Cost) link to review costs.
How the System Works
Interested parties (individuals, groups, agencies or departments) establish their one-page
Behavior Data Systems license. At that
time, their test unit fee is established. Volume discounts are honored. Licensed parties are then provided test-related
materials (test booklets, training manuals, diskettes, etc.). Behavior Data
Systems' staff are available to walk new users through
their initial computer scoring procedure. Support services are then provided on an as needed basis.
Orders are accepted by telephone, e-mail, fax or mail. Ninety-eight percent of all orders are placed in return mail the
same day the order was received.
SAQ-Adult Probation III diskettes contain 25 or 50 tests and all of the software needed to run on PC's. Scoring, data
interpretation and printing of reports are done by the computer. Computer scoring eliminates tedious, time consuming and
error prone hand scoring. Indeed, staff report writing, substantiation of decisions and record keeping needs are met. It takes
30 minutes to complete the SAQ-Adult Probation III, and reports are available on-site within 2½ minutes.
Each diskette has a counter that tells you what test you are using. When all tests on a diskette are used, that diskette is
returned to Behavior Data Systems. Test data is then downloaded into the SAQ-Adult Probation III database for future analysis.
Advantages of Screening
Screening or assessment instruments filter out individuals with serious problems that may require referral for a more
comprehensive evaluation (psychiatric or psychological) and/or treatment. For example:
SAQ-ADULT PROBATION III RISK RANGES
Risk Range Percentile
0 - 39%
40 - 69%
70 - 89%
90 - 100%
Reference to the above risk range table shows that a problem is not identified until a scale score is at the
70th percentile or higher. And, these risk range percentiles are
based upon the thousands of probationers and defendants that have taken
the SAQ-Adult Probation III. This procedure is eminently fair, and it
avoids both extremes, i.e., over-identification and under-identification of problems and risk.
A department, court or agency's policy might refer clients with identified problems for further
evaluation, intervention or treatment. In this case, 31% of the people
screened (Problem Risk and Severe Problem) would be referred. Or, policy
might only refer clients with serious problems (Severe Problem, 11%) for
additional services. In these examples, 69% or 89% (contingent upon adopted
policy) of the people screened would not be referred for additional (and expensive) services.
(dollars) would be large with no compromises in needy people receiving
appropriate evaluation and/or treatment services.
Indeed, more needy people would receive help. Without a screening program,
there is usually much more risk of over or under-utilization of additional professional services.
The SAQ-Adult Probation III scales identify the areas they screen. And, these scales (measures) are:
1. Truthfulness Scale,
3. Drugs Scale,
4. Violence (Lethality)
Scale, 5. Antisocial Scale,
6. Aggressiveness Scale, and
7. Stress Coping Abilities Scale.
"Affordable & volume
discounts are available"
"What users are saying..."
"I continue to be impressed with the Substance Abuse Questionnaire (SAQ) after years of using
Conway Group, Ltd., Arizona
"The SAQ-Adult Probation has enhanced our ability to make informed case management
decisions in a timely manner . . . Members of our judiciary and public
prosecution are now familiar with this test and in some instances have
requested assessments prior to sentencing."
Nova Scotia, Dept. of Justice,
"The Substance Abuse Questionnaire has strengthened our individual assessment process and
is providing us with a valuable comprehensive database for planning purposes."
MO Dept. of Corrections
Offender Rehabilitation Services
"We are a three-site outpatient facility that deals with the court systems
from six different counties . . . The SAQ-Adult Probation has shown itself to be very valid."
CRW Associates, Bay City, Michigan
"This court maintains a sizable case load of felony diversion cases . . . The
SAQ-Adult Probation is invaluable to the Diversion Program and is
recommended to all felony project counselors."
City of Hunstville, Municipal Court
"May this missive serve to apprise you of our satisfaction with Substance Abuse
Questionnaire (SAQ) . . . The SAQ has proved superior in information
provided and format when com-pared to other screening instruments."
Texas Adult Probation Dept.
"In a criminal justice agency documentation of objective criteria in formulating
assessment and classification of risk levels is of critical importance for
all client records . . . The SAQ-Adult Probation III has proven highly
successful in accuracy and reliability for classification."
City of Phoenix, Municipal Court
"The Substance Abuse unit of District VI Probation and Parole of the Oklahoma Department
of Corrections has utilized the Substance Abuse Questionnaire . . . We
have been extremely satisfied with the results of this instrument."
Oklahoma Department of Corrections
"The Substance Abuse Questionnaire is one of the most psychometrically sound and useful
evaluation instruments for substance abuse screening, assessment, and
evaluation presently available."
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Arizona
"The Nebraska Probation System is pleased with the SAQ-Adult Probation III's results . .
. The Omaha and Lincoln county courts are high volume courts . . . Some
advantages of the SAQ-Adult Probation III are: it reduces the amount of
staff time, the risk percentile on each scale is automatically calculated,
reports are easy to review, understand and interpret plus an expanding
database is available . . . Please accept this letter as a vote of confidence."
Supreme Court of Nebraska,
Administrative Office of the Courts/Probation
"Prior to selecting the SAQ-Adult Probation III for use in our program we conducted
an exhaustive review of all available tests . . . I am very pleased that
we selected the SAQ-Adult Probation III."
"We successfully piloted the Substance Abuse Questionnaire and staff response was
overwhelmingly positive. Ninety-six percent of survey responses indicated
the SAQ was a useful tool. The aforementioned results were often supported
through written commentary from staff. A sample is provided: . . . An excellent
report, very accurate . . . Useful assessment, especially in the area of
aggression and stress . . . Provides a strong base for intervention . . .
Moreover, SAQ reports provide valuable information regarding
treatment/supervision intervention and the degree of risk presented by the offender."
Nova Scotia, Dept. of Solicitor General
"I am very satisfied with the service we have received from Behavior Data Systems,
Ltd. and highly recommend them to any other agency."
City of Las Vegas, New Mexico,
Test Unit Fee (Cost): SAQ-Adult Probation
III cost information can be reviewed by clicking on the
Test Unit Fee
(Cost) link. There is only the one cost or charge, and that is the
test unit fee. Everything else is included at no additional cost to the
test user. This includes test booklets, answer sheets, training manuals,
upgrades, ongoing database research, annual summary testing reports, staff
training, and support services. Do not be misled by some test publishers'
à la carte pricing like separate costs for each test administration as
well as for each of the test-related items listed above. Instead of asking
for the test administration cost, ask for the total cost involved in using
a test. We believe Behavior Data Systems' one test unit fee is very affordable.
Free Examination Kit
A 1-test demonstration diskette is available on a 30-day cost free basis. Demo diskettes are in
Windows format. The Examination Kit includes a 1-test demo diskette, installation CD (with instructions),
test booklet, answer sheet and some descriptive materials. Behavior Data Systems, Ltd. does want the
test booklet and diskette returned within 30 days.
Selecting a Probationer Test
If you are selecting a probationer (male and female) assessment instrument, the following Comparison Checklist should
prove helpful. This checklist itemizes important assessment and screening qualities. The "Other" column
represents any other test you might want to compare to the SAQ-Adult Probation III.
TEST COMPARISON CHECKLIST
Designed Specifically for Probationer Assessment
Test Reliability & Validity Research Provided
Test Completed in 30 Minutes
On-Site Reports within 2½ Minutes
Truthfulness Scale Detects Faking
Truth-Corrected Scores for Accuracy
Three Test Administration Options
1. Paper-Pencil (English & Spanish)
2. On Computer Screen (English & Spanish)
3. Human Voice Audio (English & Spanish)
Available in English and Spanish
Appropriate for Misdemeanor and Felony Assessment
Comprehensive Assessment (Seven Scales)
Alcohol and Drugs Scales
Violence (Lethality) Scale
Stress Coping Abilities Scale
Delete Client Names (Confidentiality) Procedure
HIPAA (federal regulation) Compliant
Test Data Input Verification Procedure
Annual Database Research (Free)
Annual Test Program Summary (Free)
Large (189,000) Research Database
Available in MS-DOS and Windows
Helpful Score-Related Reports
Easily Understood Reports
ASAM Compatible Recommendations
Staff Training (Free)
Examination Kits (Free)
Very Affordable Test Unit Fee
validity & accuracy"
SAQ-Adult Probation III Interpretation
An example 4-page SAQ-Adult Probation III report follows this discussion of test interpretation. It is
provided as a ready reference to augment this dialogue. There are several
levels of interpretation ranging from viewing the SAQ-Adult Probation III
as a self-report to interpreting scale elevation and scale interrelationships.
The following table is a starting point for interpreting SAQ-Adult Probation III scale scores.
SAQ-ADULT PROBATION III RISK RANGES
Risk Range Percentile
0 - 39%
40 - 69%
70 - 89%
90 - 100%
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
SAQ-Adult Probation III, which has been normed on thousands of
probationers. And, this normative sample continues to expand with each test that is administered.
Truthfulness Scale: Measures how truthful the probationer was while
completing the test. It identifies guarded and defensive probationers who
attempt to fake good. Truthfulness Scale scores in the 70th to 89th
percentile range are accurate. Truthfulness Scale scores at or above the
90th percentile mean that all SAQ-Adult Probation III scales
are inaccurate (invalid) because the probationer was overly guarded, read
things into test items that aren't there, was minimizing problems or was
caught faking answers. Probationers with reading impairments might also
score in this 90th to 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 is important because it shows whether or not the
probationer answered test items honestly.
Truthfulness Scale scores at or below the 89th percentile
indicate that all other scale scores are accurate. One of
the first things to check when reviewing an SAQ-Adult Probation III report is the Truthfulness Scale score.
(Lethality) Scale: Identifies probationers that are dangerous to
themselves and others. Violence 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.
scorers should not be ignored as they are threatening and very dangerous.
A particularly unstable and perilous situation involves an elevated Violence Scale score with an
elevated Antisocial, Alcohol or Drugs Scale score. Substance (alcohol or
other drugs) abuse and antisocial attitudes can contribute to a person's
dangerousness. The more of these scales that
are elevated with an elevated Violence Scale, the worse the prognosis.
An elevated Stress Coping Abilities Scale with an elevated Violence Scale
provides insight regarding co-determinants and possible treatment
recommendations. A Severe Problem Violence Scale score is a malignant sign
with or without other scale elevations and describes a dangerous person.
An elevated Violence Scale with an elevated Aggressiveness Scale score
increases the probability of acting out. The Violence Scale score can be
interpreted independently or in combination with other SAQ-Adult Probation III scales.
Antisocial Scale: Measures antisocial attitudes and behavior.
Antisocial is defined as opposed to society or existing social
organization and moral codes. Antisocial behavior refers to aggressive,
impulsive and sometime violent actions that flout social and ethical codes
as well as laws. This behavior pattern often begins with a conduct
disorder involving lying, stealing, fighting, cruelty, truancy, vandalism
and substance abuse.
Elevated Antisocial Scale
scores are often associated with non-internalization of recognized
conventions. Many high Antisocial Scale scorers manifest a seeming inability to profit from experience.
An elevated Antisocial Scale in conjunction with an elevated Alcohol Scale, Drugs Scale or Violence Scale
score would be a malignant sign prognostically. A Severe Problem Stress
Coping Abilities scale score with an elevated Severe Problem Antisocial
Scale suggests the possibility of a suspicious/paranoid mental health
problem. And, an elevated Antisocial Scale score suggests a rather negative
flavor to acting out behaviors. The Antisocial Scale can be interpreted
independently or in combination with other SAQ-Adult Probation III scales.
4. Aggressiveness Scale:
Measures aggressive or outgoing behavior.
Aggressiveness is defined as a social dominance and a tendency toward
hostility. This condition is often characterized by a lack of social
concern for others. Aggressive conduct disorders are characterized by
persistent, domineering, punitive and even assaultive verbal or physical conduct.
An elevated Aggressiveness Scale score is indicative of increased risk-taking behavior, acting out
potential and impulsiveness. Severe Problem scorers represent the extreme
and can constitute a subgroup of antisocial personality disorders.
Characteristics include lack of social concern, disrespect of others
property and deliberate annoying of others.
Severe Problem scorers often cross the
line between aggressive behavior and inappropriate acting out. Aggressive
tendencies are particularly troublesome in people also scoring in the
elevated Violence Scale range.
An aggressive person who is also antisocial and/or manifests an elevated Violence Scale score can be
particularly dangerous. Substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse tends to
magnify a person's aggressive problem tendencies. A person with a Severe
Problem Aggressiveness Scale score becomes more bothersome or distracting
with a concurrently elevated substance abuse, Antisocial Scale or Stress
Coping Abilities Scale score. The Aggressiveness Scale can be interpreted
independently or in combination with other SAQ-Adult Probation III scales.
5. Alcohol Scale: Measures alcohol use and the severity of
abuse. Alcohol refers to beer, wine and other liquor. It is a licit
substance. An elevated (70th to 89th percentile) Alcohol Scale
score is indicative of an emerging drinking problem. An Alcohol Scale
score in the Severe Problem (90th 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 SAQ-Adult
Probation III to correctly identify "recovering alcoholics."
The probationers answer to the "recovering"
question (item #149) is printed on the last page of the report for easy
reference. In addition, elevated Alcohol Scale paragraphs
caution staff to establish if the probationer is a recovering alcoholic.
Other Alcohol Scale items are printed as significant items when they are admitted to. For example: #18
(Admits has a drinking problem); #28 (In last year drinking was a
problem); #44 (Admits has an alcohol problem); and #71 (Admits drinking is a serious problem).
Severely elevated Alcohol and Drugs Scale scores indicate polysubstance abuse, and the highest score
usually identifies the probationer's substance of choice.
Scores in the Severe Problem (90th to 100th percentile) range are a malignant sign. And, Alcohol
Scale scores in the Severe Problem range often magnify the behaviors
associated with other elevated scale scores when the probationer has been
drinking. The Alcohol Scale score can be interpreted independently or
in combination with other SAQ-Adult Probation III scales.
6. Drugs Scale: Measures drug use and the severity of abuse. Drugs refer to
marijuana, ice, crack, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates and heroin. An
elevated (70th to 89th percentile) Drugs Scale score identifies
emerging drug problems. A Drugs Scale score in the Severe Problem (90th to
100th percentile) range identifies established drug problems.
A history of drug-related problems (e.g., drug-related arrests, drug treatment, etc.) could result
in an abstainer (current non-user) attaining a Low to Medium Risk Drugs
Scale score. For this reason, precautions have been built into the SAQ-Adult Probation III to insure correct identification of
"recovering" drug abusers. Many of these precautions are similar to those discussed in
the previous Alcohol Scale description.
probationer's answer to the "recovering" question (item #149) is printed
on the last page of the report for easy reference. In
addition, elevated Drugs Scale paragraphs caution staff to establish if the probationer is a recovering drug abuser.
Other Drugs Scale items are printed as significant items when they are admitted to. For example: #47
(States still uses drugs); #63 (In last year had a drug problem); #90
(Admits to a drug problem); #101 (States is in drug treatment) and #104 (Admits is dependent on drugs).
Concurrently elevated Drugs and Alcohol Scale scores are indicative of polysubstance abuse, and the
highest score usually reflects the probationer's substance of choice.
A Severe Problem Drugs Scale score usually exacerbates or magnifies the effects associated with other
elevated scores when the probationer uses drugs. A particularly dangerous
situation exists when the Violence Scale score and the Drugs Scale score
are in the Severe Problem range. Elevated Drugs Scale scores contribute to
further impaired Stress Coping Abilities Scale scorers' stress handling
abilities. A Severe Problem Drugs Scale score is an even more problematic
sign when any Aggressiveness, Violence or Antisocial Scales are also on
the Severe Problem range. The Drugs Scale can be interpreted independently
or in combination with other SAQ-Adult Probation III scales.
7. Stress Coping Abilities Scale: Measures one's ability to cope effectively
with tension, stress and pressure. It is now accepted that stress
exacerbates symptoms of mental and emotional problems. Thus, an elevated
Stress Coping Abilities Scale score in conjunction with other elevated
SAQ-Adult Probation III scales helps explain the probationer's situation.
When a probationer doesn't handle stress well, other existing problems are
often exacerbated. Such problem augmentation or magnification applies to
substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse, behavioral acting out and attitudinal problems.
When a Stress Coping Abilities Scale score is in the Problem Risk (70th to 89th percentile) range, the
probationer would benefit from a stress management program wherein
effective stress coping strategies are taught. When a Stress Coping
Abilities Scale score is in the Severe Problem (90th to 100th
percentile) range, it is very likely that the probationer has a diagnosable
mental health problem. In these instances, referral to a certified/licensed
mental health professional is warranted for a diagnosis and treatment
plan. As noted earlier, lower elevated scores suggest possible referral
alternatives like stress management counseling. Elevated and severe
problem scores trigger more intense treatment options. The Stress Coping
Abilities Scale can be interpreted independently or in conjunction with
other SAQ-Adult Probation III scale scores.
In conclusion, it was noted that there are several "levels" of SAQ-Adult Probation III interpretation
ranging from viewing the SAQ-Adult Probation III as a self-report to
interpreting scale elevations and interrelationships. Staff can then put SAQ-Adult Probation III test report findings within the context of the
probationer's life and corrections situation.
For even more insight into how the SAQ-Adult Probation III works, users are encouraged to review the SAQ-Adult Probation III:
Orientation and Training Manual. Each scale's scoring methodology is explained, unique assessment features are
discussed, and more detailed information on the SAQ-Adult Probation III system is presented.
Both the SAQ-Adult Probation III and the SAQ-Short Form are discussed in the Orientation
and Training Manual. This manual is a must read for thorough understanding of the SAQ-Adult Probation III and the SAQ-Short Form.
Additional SAQ-Adult Probation III and Short Form information can be provided upon request.
The SAQ-Adult Probation III report consists of four pages. Although the same format or outline is used,
these reports are highly individualized.
Additional information can be provided upon request by writing:
Behavior Data Systems, Ltd. P.O. Box 44256 Phoenix, Arizona 85064-4256
Our telephone number is (602) 234-3506.
Our fax number is (602) 266-8227.
and our e-mail address is