Retrospective assessment of childhood sexual and physical abuse: A comparison of scaled and behaviorally specific approaches

David DiLillo, Michelle A. Fortier, Sarah A. Hayes, Emily Trask, Andrea R. Perry, Terri Messman-Moore, Angèle Fauchier, Cindy Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study compared retrospective reports of childhood sexual and physical abuse as assessed by two measures: the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), which uses a Likert-type scaling approach, and the Computer Assisted Maltreatment Inventory (CAMI), which employs a behaviorally specific means of assessment. Participants included 1,195 undergraduate students recruited from three geographically diverse universities. Agreement was high across the two measures in the classification of victim status (92% and 80% for sexual and physical abuse, respectively). However, the CTQ classified more participants as sexually abused than did the CAMI, whereas the opposite trend was found for physical abuse. For child physical abuse, many participants reporting abusive acts on the CAMI scored below the cut-point for physical abuse on the CTQ. Classification differences for both types of abuse were largely unrelated to demographic factors, socially desirable responding, or self-reported withholding of information. The implications of these results are discussed in light of future research using retrospective methods of assessing childhood abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-312
Number of pages16
JournalAssessment
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2006

Keywords

  • Assessment
  • Physical abuse
  • Retrospective
  • Sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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