• Nicholls, Tonia

    Titles

    Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
    Professor, Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, UBC – Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission (FPSC)

    Degrees / Designations
    PhD
    Primary Area of Research
    Brain, Behaviour & Development
    Secondary Area(s) of Research
    Phone
    604-524-7790
    Fax
    Lab Phone
    Mailing Address
    Affiliate Websites
    Research Areas

    Personality disorders, Psychopathy, Schizophrenia, Suicide, Desistance, Forensic psychiatry/psychology, Gender, Homelessness, Protective factors, Resiliency and recovery, Risk assessment, Victimization, Violence

    Summary

    The intersection of law and mental health is fraught with challenges for individuals living with mental illness, their families, and for criminal justice and mental health professionals, alike. My students and I focus our scholarly work at this important juncture and concentrate our research on projects that have strong bench-to-bedside application. Our study results are intended to have direct relevance and speedy application to shaping practice and policy decisions in civil, forensic, and correctional settings. We have several large-scale programs of research:

    • Our CIHR-funded PATHWAYS study is documenting and evaluating the Redevelopment of Riverview Hospital;

    • CIHR is also funding a study of risk assessment and risk management to inform treatment planning and ultimately improve outcomes among former BC Corrections inmates and probationers;

    • We developed a concise clinical measure for the assessment and management of risk to self and others (Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability, START);

    • We are also studying success and resiliency among individuals returning to the community following hospitalization and/or incarceration in jails and prison;

    • I am part of two national teams funded by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.The first project is studying mentally ill individuals who have come into conflict with the law and ultimately have been found 'not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder' in three Canadian provinces: Quebec, Ontario and BC (The National Trajectory Project). The second project is based on a "Housing First" approach. The At Home/Chez Soi Research Demonstration Project is investigating mental health and homelessness in five Canadian cities: Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

    Current Projects
    Selected Publications
    • Crocker, A.G., Nicholls, T.L., Seto, M.C., & Cote, G. (2015). The National Trajectory Project of individuals found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder in Canada. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(3), 96-97. PMID: 25886684

    • Crocker, A.G., Nicholls, T.L., Seto, M.C., Cote, G., Charette, Y., & Caulet, M. (2015). The National Trajectory Project of individuals found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder in Canada. Part 1: Context and methods. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(3), 98-105. PMID: 25886685

    • Crocker, A.G., Nicholls, T.L., Seto, M.C., Charette, Y., Cote, G., & Caulet, M. (2015). The National Trajectory Project of individuals found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder in Canada. Part 2: The people behind the label.The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(3), 106-116. PMID: 25886686

    • Crocker, A.G., Charette, Y., Seto, M.C., Nicholls, T.L., Cote, G., & Caulet, M. (2015). The National Trajectory Project of individuals found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder in Canada. Part 3: Trajectories and outcomes through the forensic system. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(3), 117-126. PMID: 25886687

    • Charette, Y., Crocker, A.G., Seto, M.C., Salem, L., Nicholls, T.L., & Caulet, M. (2015). The National Trajectory Project of individuals found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder in Canada. Part 4: Criminal recidivism. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(3), 127-134. PMID: 25886688

    • Nicholls, T.L., Crocker, A.G., Seto, M.C., Wilson, C., Charette, Y., & Cote, G. (2015). The National Trajectory Project of individuals found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder in Canada. Part 5: How essential are gender-specific forensic psychiatric services? The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(3), 135-145. PMID: 25886689

    • Wilson, C., Crocker, A., Nicholls, T.L., Charette, Y., & Seto, M. (2015). The use of risk and need factors in forensic mental health decision-making and the role of gender and index offense severity. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 33, 19-25.doi: 10.1002/bsl.2162. PMID: 25693951

    • Strub, D., Douglas, K., & Nicholls, T.L. (2014). The validity of Version 3 of the HCR-20 violence risk assessment scheme amongst offenders and civil psychiatric patients. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 13(2), 148-159.

    • Salem, L., Crocker, A., Charette, Y., Seto, M.C., Nicholls, T.L. & Cote, G. (2014). Supportive housing and forensic patient outcomes. Law and Human Behavior.Advance online publication.doi:10.1037/lhb0000112. PMID: 25365472

    • Crocker, A., Nicholls, T.L., Charette, Y., & Seto, M. (2014). Dynamic and static factors associated with discharge dispositions: The National Trajectory Project of Individuals found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder in Canada. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 32(5), 577-595. doi:10.1002/bsl.2133. PMID: 25236295

    • Roy,L., Crocker, A., Nicholls, T., Reyes, A., & Latimer, E. (2014). Criminal behavior and victimization among homeless individuals with severe mental illness: a systematic review. Psychiatric Services, 65(6), 739-750. PMID: 24535245

    • Hilterman, E., Nicholls, T., & van Nieuwenhuizen, C. (2014). Predictive validity of risk assessments in juvenile offenders: Comparing the SAVRY, PCL:YV and YLS/CMI with unstructured clinical assessments. Assessment, 21(3), 324-339. doi: 10.1177/1073191113498113. PMID: 23921605

    • Seto, M. C., Crocker, A. G., Nicholls, T. L., Cote, G. (2014). Towards a national agenda on mental health and criminal justice. Psynopsis, 36(1), 12-13.

    • Spidel, A., Greaves, C., Nicholls, T.L., Goldenson, J., & Dutton, D.G. (2013). Personality disorders, types of violence, and stress responses in females who perpetrate intimate partner violence. (Special Issue on Criminal Investigative Psychology) Psychology,4(9), 5-11.

    • Wilson, C. M., Nicholls, T. L., Desmarais, S. L., Hart, S. D., & Brink, J. (2013). Predictive validity of dynamic factors: Assessing violence risk in forensic pyschiatric inpatients. Law Hum Behav, 37(6), 377-88. PMID: 23815092

    • Petersen, K.L., Nicholls, T.L., Groden, D., Schmitz, N., Stip, E., Goldner, E.M., Arnold, L.M., & Lesage, A. (2013). Redevelopment of tertiary psychiatric services in British Columbia: A prospective study of clinical, social, and residential outcomes of former long-stay inpatients. Schizophrenia Research, 149(1-3), 96-103. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2013.05.022. PMID: 23815971

    • Nicholls, T., Pritchard, M., Reeves, K, & Hilterman, E. (2013). Risk assessment in intimate partner violence: A review of contemporary approaches. Partner Abuse, 4(1), 77-168. doi: 10.1891/1946-6560.4.1.76.

    • Viljoen, J.L., Beneteau, J.L., Gulbransen, E., Brodersen, E., Desmarais, S. L., Nicholls, T. L., & Cruise, K. R. (2012). Assessment of multiple risk outcomes, strengths, and change with the START:AV: A short- term prospective study with adolescent offenders. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 11(3), 165-180. doi: 10.1080/14999013.2012.737406. PMID: 23436983

    • Desmarais, S., Sellers, B., Viljoen, J., Cruise, C., Nicholls, T. L., & Dvoskin, J. (2012). Pilot implementation and preliminary evaluation of START:AV assessments in secure juvenile correctional facilities. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 11(3), 150-164. doi: 10.1080/14999013.2012.737405. PMID: 23316116

    • Viljoen, J. L., Cruise, K. R., Nicholls, T. L., Desmarais, S. L., & Webster, C. D. (2012) Taking stock and taking steps: The case for an adolescent version of the Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 11(3), 135-149. doi: 10.1080/14999013.2012.737406. PMID: 23436982

    • Desmarais, S., Nicholls, T. L., Wilson, C., & Brink, J. (2012). Using dynamic risk and protective factors to predict inpatient aggression: Reliability and validity of START assessments. Psychological Assessment, 24(3), 685-700. doi: 10.1037/a0026668. PMID: 22250595

    • Cote, G., Crocker, A. G., Nicholls, T. L., & Seto, M. C. (2012). Risk assessment instruments in clinical practice. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 57(4), 238-244. PMID: 22480589

    • Desmarais, S. L., Reeves, K. A., Nicholls, T. L., Telford, R., & Fiebert, M. S. (2012). Prevalence of physical violence in intimate relationships: Part 2. Rates of male and female perpetration. Partner Abuse, 3(2), 170-198. doi: 10.1891/1946-6560.3.2.17.

    • Desmarais, S. L., Reeves, K. A., Nicholls, T. L., Telford, R., & Fiebert, M. S. (2012). Prevalence of physical violence in intimate relationships: Part 1. Rates of male and female victimization. Partner Abuse, 3(2), 140-169. doi: 10.1891/1946-6560.3.2.140.

    • Jansman-Hart, E. M., Seto, M. C. Crocker, A., G., Nicholls, T. L., & Cote, G. (2011). International trends in demand for forensic mental health services. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 10(4), 326-336. doi: 10.1080/14999013.2011.625591. PMID: 15308448

    • Viljoen, S., Nicholls, T.L., Greaves, C., de Ruiter, C., & Brink, J. (2011) Resilience and successful community reintegration among female forensic psychiatric patients: A preliminary investigation. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 29(5), 752-770. doi: 10.1002/bsl.1001. PMID: 21796675

    • Nicholls, T. L., Petersen, K., Brink, J., & Webster, C. (2011). A clinical risk profile of forensic psychiatric patients: Treatment team STARTs in a Canadian service. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 10(3), 187-199. doi: 10.1080/14999013.2011.600234.

    • Livingston, J. D., Nicholls, T. L., & Brink, J. (2011). The impact of realigning a provincial tertiary hospital system on other Institutional sectors. Psychiatric Services, 62(2), 200-205. PMID: 21285099

    • Crocker, A., Braithwaite, E., Cote, G., Nicholls, T., & Seto, M. (2011). To detain or release?: Correlates of dispositions for individuals declared not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 56(5), 293-302. PMID: 21586195

    • de Ruiter, C. & Nicholls, T. L. (2011). Protective factors in forensic psychiatry: A new frontier. Guest editor for this special issue of International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 10(3), 160-170. doi: 10.1080/14999013.2010.534694.

    • Crocker, A. G., Nicholls, T. L., Cote, G., Latimer, E., & Seto, M. C. (2010). Individuals found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder: Are we providing equal protection and equivalent access to mental health services to accused mentally ill individuals across Canada? Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 29(2), 55-63.

    • Lussier, P., Verdun-Jones, S., Deslauriers-Varin, N., Nicholls, T. L., & Brink, J.(2010). Identification of chronic violent patients in inpatient psychiatric units: Testing an actuarial prediction scheme. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 37(1), 5-28.

    • Livingston, J. D., Verdun-Jones, S., Brink, J., Lussier, P., & Nicholls, T. L. (2010). A narrative review of the effectiveness of aggression management training programs for psychiatric hospital staff. Journal of Forensic Nursing, 6(1), 15-28. PMID: 20201912

    • Wilson, C., Desmarais, S., Nicholls, T.L. & Brink, J. (2010). The role of client strengths in assessments of short-term violence risk. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 9(4), 282-293.

    • Desmarais, S. L., Gibas, A., & Nicholls, T. L. (2009). Beyond violence against women: Gender-inclusiveness in domestic violence research, policy, and practice. In C. F. Ferguson (Ed.), Violent crime: Clinical and social implications(pp. 184-206). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    • von Franqué, F., Desmarais, S. L., Nicholls, T. L., & Müller-Isberner, R. (2009). Kausalitätsmodelle zum Zusammenhang zwischen aggressivem Verhalten, Viktimisierung und versuchter Selbsttötung sowie relevante Risikofaktoren aus Sicht forensischer Patienten [Causality Models about the Association between Aggressive Behavior, Victimization and Suicide-Related Behavior as well as Relevant Risk Factors as Perceived by Forensic Patients]. Monatsschrift für Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform Journal Impact Factor & Information, 5, 471-479.

    • Desmarais, S. L., Nicholls, T. L., Read, J. D., & Brink, J. (2009). Confidence and accuracy in assessments of short-term risks presented by forensic psychiatric patients. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 21(1), 1-22. doi: 10.1080/14789940903183932]

    • Reeves, K. A., Desmarais, S. L., Nicholls, T. L., & Douglas, K. S. (2009). Intimate partner abuse of older men: Considerations for the assessment of risk. In J. I. Kosberg (Ed.), Abuse of older men (pp. 7-27). Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press. PMID: 18077267

    • Garcia-Mansilla, A., Rosenfeld, B., & Nicholls, T. L. (2009). Risk assessment: Are current methods applicable to women. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 8(1), 50-61.

    • Nicholls, T. L., Brink, J., Greaves, C., Lussier, P., & Verdun-Jones, S. (2009). Forensic psychiatric inpatients and aggression: An exploration of incidence, prevalence, severity, and interventions by patient gender. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 32(1), 23-30. PMID: 19081629

    • Olley, M., Nicholls, T. L., & Brink, J. (2009). The efficient and effective delivery of services to mentally disordered inmates. Behavioral Sciences and Law, 27(5), 811-831.

    • Hamel, J., Desmarais, S. L., Nicholls, T. L., Malley-Morrison, K., & Aaronson, J. (2009). Domestic violence and child custody: Family court professionals ' knowledge and beliefs. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 1, 37-52.

    • Nicholls, T. L., Odgers, C., & Cooke, D. (2008). Girls and women with psychopathic characteristics: Causes, treatments and interventions. In A. Felthous, & H. Sass (Eds.), International handbook on psychopathic disorders and the law. Sussex, UK: Wiley.

    • Douglas, K. S., Nicholls, T. L., & Brink, J. (2008). Psychological / behavioural treatment of the potentially violent patient (pp. 351-376). In P. Kleespies (Ed.), Evaluating and managing behavioral emergencies: An evidence-based resource for mental health practitioners. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    • Nicholls, T. L., Webster, C. D., Brink, J., & Martin, M. L. (2008). Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability. In B. Cutler & P. Zapf (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Psychology and Law (pp. 744-746). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    • Nicholls, T. L., Greaves, C., & Moretti, M. (2008). Female aggression. In A. Jamieson & A. Moenssens (Eds.). Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science. Sussex, UK: Wiley.

    • Nicholls, T. L., Desmarais, S. L., Douglas, K. S., & Kropp, P. R. (2007). Violence risk assessments with perpetrators of intimate partner abuse. In J. Hamel & T. L. Nicholls (Eds.), Family interventions in domestic violence: A handbook of gender-inclusive theory and treatment (pp. 275-301). London, UK: Springer.

    • Reeves, K. A., Desmarais, S. L., Nicholls, T. L., & Douglas, K. S. (2007). Intimate partner abuse of older men: Considerations for the assessment of risk. Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect. 19: 7-27. PMID: 18077267

    • Hamel, J., Desmarais, S. L., & Nicholls, T. L. (2007). Perceptions of motives in intimate partner violence: Expressive versus coercive violence. Violence and Victims, 22, 563-576. PMID: 18064970

    • Nicholls, T. L., Brink, J., Desmarais, S., Webster, C. D., & Martin, M. L. (2006). The Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability (START): A prospective validation study in a forensic psychiatric sample. Assessment, 13, 313-327. PMID: 16880282

    • Webster, C. D., Nicholls, T. L., Martin, M. L., Desmarais, S. L., & Brink, J. (2006). Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability (START): The case for a new violence risk structured professional judgment scheme. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 24, 747-766. PMID: 17171764

    Grants
    Honours & Awards
    Research Group Members