The development and piloting of the ISPCAN Child Abuse Screening Tool-Parent version (ICAST-P)

Child Abuse Negl. 2009 Nov;33(11):826-32. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.09.006. Epub 2009 Oct 24.


Objective: Child maltreatment is a problem that has longer recognition in the northern hemisphere and in high-income countries. Recent work has highlighted the nearly universal nature of the problem in other countries but demonstrated the lack of comparability of studies because of the variations in definitions and measures used. The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect has developed instrumentation that may be used with cross-cultural and cross-national benchmarking by local investigators. DESIGN AND SAMPLING: The instrument design began with a team of expert in Brisbane in 2004. A large bank of questions were subjected to two rounds of Delphi review to develop the fielded version of the instrument. Convenience samples included approximately 120 parent respondents with children under the age of 18 in each of six countries (697 total).

Results: This paper presents an instrument that measures parental behaviors directed at children and reports data from pilot work in 6 countries and 7 languages. Patterns of response revealed few missing values and distributions of responses that generally were similar in the six countries. Subscales performed well in terms of internal consistency with Cronbach's alpha in very good range (0.77-0.88) with the exception of the neglect and sex abuse subscales. Results varied by child age and gender in expected directions but with large variations among the samples. About 15% of children were shaken, 24% hit on the buttocks with an object, and 37% were spanked. Reports of choking and smothering were made by 2% of parents.

Conclusion: These pilot data demonstrate that the instrument is well tolerated and captures variations in, and potentially harmful forms of child discipline.

Practice implications: The ISPCAN Child Abuse Screening Tool - Parent Version (ICAST-P) has been developed as a survey instrument to be administered to parents for the assessment of child maltreatment in a multi-national and multi-cultural context. It was developed with broad input from international experts and subjected to Dephi review, translation, and pilot testing in six countries. The results of the Delphi study and pilot testing are presented. This study demonstrates that a single instrument can be used in a broad range of cultures and languages with low rates of missing data and moderate to high internal consistency.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Benchmarking
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Child Abuse / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / diagnosis*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / prevention & control
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • Delphi Technique
  • Education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • International Cooperation*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Parenting*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*