A brief two-item screener for detecting a history of physical or sexual abuse in childhood

Brett D. Thombs, David P. Bernstein, Roy Ziegelstein, Wendy Bennett, Edward A. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: A number of medical practice guidelines and recommendations call for screening adult patients for a history of physical or sexual abuse in childhood, but no brief screening tools exist. The objective of this study was to assess the accuracy of a two-item screener for physical or sexual abuse in childhood. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of randomly selected women (aged 18-65 years) from a large health maintenance organization. One thousand two hundred twenty-five patients were administered a questionnaire, which included two items in a brief screener: (a) "When I was growing up, people in my family hit me so hard that it left me with bruises or marks" and (b) "When I was growing up, someone tried to touch me in a sexual way or tried to make me touch them." A subset of 216 patients completed a semistructured interview for a history of physical or sexual abuse in childhood. Results: The two-item screener was sensitive (84.8%) and specific (88.1%) for detecting a history of physical or sexual abuse in childhood, as determined by the semistructured interview. Conclusions: The two-item screener provides an accurate tool, which is easily integrated into a comprehensive health questionnaire or administered verbally by a clinician, to assess for history of abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2007

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Sex Offenses
Touch
Interviews
Health Maintenance Organizations
Contusions
Practice Guidelines
Cross-Sectional Studies
Physical Abuse
Health
Surveys and Questionnaires

Keywords

  • Childhood
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Two-item screener

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Medicine(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

A brief two-item screener for detecting a history of physical or sexual abuse in childhood. / Thombs, Brett D.; Bernstein, David P.; Ziegelstein, Roy; Bennett, Wendy; Walker, Edward A.

In: General Hospital Psychiatry, Vol. 29, No. 1, 01.2007, p. 8-13.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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