Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Julie S. Costopoulos, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Mary Caitlin Fertitta, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Renee Nicole Souris, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Robert A. Taylor, Ph.D.


This study seeks to contribute to the existing literature on community-based forensic evaluations. This is the first known study to examine the effects of competency evaluation pay rates in Florida. This study aimed to contribute to the existing research on diagnostic usage between forensic professions and the potential effects of demographic characteristics on diagnostic impressions. Psychological test use was examined to provide an updated account of the most prominent tests used in forensic evaluations by varying professions. Finally, this study contributed to the scant literature on report writing practices in community-based forensic evaluations utilizing existing research of elements deemed essential in forensic reports. The objectives of this study were achieved utilizing 102 reports from Florida community-based forensic evaluations from 2008 to 2023. Results indicated that evaluators with a Ph.D. credential utilized psychological testing more frequently than any other evaluator credential, particularly in symptom validity and psychopathology testing. Results suggested that omissions of criteria were particularly problematic. The most frequently omitted legal criteria in reports included those associated with determinations of incompetency. Specifically, the recommended treatment setting, mention of the defendant’s need for involuntary commitment, and the defendant’s likelihood of regaining competency in the foreseeable future were absent. Although significant relationships were not found for many of the other criteria, it should be noted that none of the evaluators were 100% compliant in discussing all of the legally required criteria. There were no significant findings on factors influencing diagnosis provided to the defendant. Implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Available for download on Monday, May 10, 2027