An Introduction to Internet-Based Data and Its Relevance to Forensic Mental Health Assessments

  • Ashley B. BatastiniEmail author
  • Ashley C. T. Jones
  • Olivia K. Miller
  • Michael J. VitaccoEmail author


This opening chapter first discusses the prevalence and current state of Internet use in our society with a focus on social media, including data on who is more inclined to use social media and a brief review of extant literature on the relationship between social media and personality. Also reviewed is the use of social media by legal and mental health professionals more broadly. Branching from these disciplines, we then outline the relevance of Internet-based data to forensic mental health assessment and argue for the need to consider the unique aspects associated with the integration of Internet-based data sources in this context. We highlight existing legal and professional standards that have applicability to collateral information obtained from the Internet and introduce newly proposed guidelines specific to this data modality. The chapter ends with an overview of the content and structure of the remaining chapters.


Forensic mental health assessment Social media Internet Collateral data Ethical guideline 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA
  2. 2.Augusta UniversityAugustaUSA

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