Measurement of victimization in adolescence: development and validation of the Childhood Experiences of Violence Questionnaire

Child Abuse Negl. 2008 Nov;32(11):1037-57. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2008.05.003. Epub 2008 Nov 6.


Objective: This study presents evaluative data on the Childhood Experiences of Violence Questionnaire (CEVQ), a brief, self-report measure of youth victimization.

Methods: Literature reviews, expert consultations and qualitative interviews informed the development of the CEVQ. Test-retest reliability of the preliminary and final versions of the CEVQ was examined. Child welfare workers (n=11) assessed content validity. Construct validity was assessed by comparing levels of emotional and behavioral problems of youth with self-reports (n=177) of victimization. Criterion validity was tested by comparing clinicians' judgment of child physical abuse (PA) and child sexual abuse (SA) with youths' self-reports (n=93).

Results: In general, test-retest intra-class correlations (ICCs) for the preliminary version of the questionnaire were good to excellent. Reliability estimates for the stem questions in the final version of the CEVQ were excellent, except for peer violence items which showed fair to good agreement. ICCs for PA, severe PA, SA, and severe SA of the CEVQ were .85, .77, .92, and .87, respectively. Youth with self-reported victimization had significantly higher scores for most categories of emotional and behavioral disorders. Experts classified victimization items as relevant. Kappa coefficients comparing clinician's judgments and youth's self-reports for PA, severe PA, SA, and severe SA were .67, .64, .70, and .50, respectively.

Conclusions: The present findings provide preliminary evidence that the CEVQ is a brief, reliable, valid and informative instrument for assessing exposure to victimization and maltreatment among youth.

Practice implications: Although this instrument is not appropriate for clinical use at this time, its psychometric properties will make it useful in conducting further epidemiological research and studies evaluating interventions aimed at reducing victimization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ontario
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychology, Adolescent / instrumentation*
  • Psychology, Adolescent / standards
  • Psychometrics
  • Self-Assessment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*