Background: Domestic violence is a major personal and public health concern affecting women of all walks of life. Physicians have reported the need for screening instruments to help recognize abuse; several have been validated in English. No screening tools thus far have been validated in other languages.
Methods: We translated a previously validated tool, the Woman Abuse Screening Tool (WAST), into Spanish. To assess for validity, we compared responses of Spanish-speaking abused and nonabused respondents drawn from a community health center and a battered women's shelter. There were 27 women in the abused group and 34 women in the nonabused comparison group.
Results: The scale was found to be reliable with a Cronbach alpha of 0.91. The mean WAST Spanish scores were significantly different between the two groups, indicating this tool would be a valid screening instrument. A short form using the two most reliable questions was developed as a more rapid screening tool for office use, achieving a specificity of 94% and a sensitivity of 89%.
Conclusions: The Spanish version of the WAST successfully discriminated between Spanish-speaking nonabused and abused women. The short form might help physicians reliably screen for abuse in Spanish-speaking women.