Initial reliability and validity of a new retrospective measure of child abuse and neglect

David P. Bernstein, Laura Fink, Leonard Handelsman, Jeffrey Foote, Meg Lovejoy, Katherine Wenzel, Elizabeth Sapareto, Joseph Ruggiero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2362 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This report presents initial findings on the reliability and validity of a new retrospective measure of child abuse and neglect, the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Method: Two hundred eighty-six drug- or alcohol-dependent patients were given the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire as part of a larger test battery, and 40 of these patients were given the questionnaire again after an interval of 2 to 6 months. Sixty-eight of the patients were also given a structured interview for child abuse and neglect, the Childhood Trauma Interview, that was developed by the authors. Results: Principal-components analysis of responses on the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire yielded four rotated orthogonal factors: physical and emotional abuse, emotional neglect, sexual abuse, and physical neglect. Cronbach's alpha for the factors ranged from 0.79 to 0.94, indicating high internal consistency. The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire also demonstrated good test- retest reliability over a 2- to 6-month interval (intraclass correlation=0.88), as well as convergence with the Childhood Trauma Interview, indicating that patients' reports of child abuse and neglect based on the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were highly stable, both over time and across types of instruments. Conclusions: These findings provide strong initial support for the reliability and validity of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1132-1136
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Volume151
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1994
Externally publishedYes

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