Identifying intimate partner violence (IPV) during the postpartum period in a Greek sample

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2010 Dec;13(6):467-76. doi: 10.1007/s00737-010-0155-5. Epub 2010 Mar 20.


Research has highlighted the wide impact of intimate partner violence (IPV) and the public health role of community health professionals in detection of victimized women. The purpose of this study was to identify postpartum emotional and physical abuse and to validate the Greek version of the Women Abuse Screening Tool (WAST) along with its sensitivity and specificity. Five hundred seventy-nine mothers within 12 weeks postpartum were recruited from the perinatal care registers of the Maternity Departments of two public hospitals in Athens, Greece. Participants were randomly selected by clinic or shift. The WAST and the Partner Violence Screen (PVS) surveys were administered in random order to the mothers from September 2007 to January 2008. The WAST was compared with the PVS as a criterion standard. Agreement between the screening instruments was examined. The psychometric measurements that were performed included: two independent sample t tests, reliability coefficients, explanatory factor analysis using a Varimax rotation, and Principal Components Method. Confirmatory analysis-also called structural equation modeling-of principal components was conducted by Linear Structural Relations. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was carried out to evaluate the global functioning of the scale. Two hundred four (35.6%) of the mothers screened were identified as experiencing IPV. Scores on the WAST correlated well with those on the PVS; the internal consistency of the WAST Greek version-tested using Cronbach's alpha coefficient-was found to be 0.926 and that of Guttman's split-half coefficient was 0.924. Our findings confirm the multidimensionality of the WAST, demonstrating a two-factor structure. The area under ROC curve (AUC) was found to be 0.824, and the logistic estimate for the threshold score of 0/1 fitted the model sensitivity at 99.7% and model specificity at 64.4%. Our data confirm the validity of the Greek version of the WAST in identifying IPV. The validated Greek WAST scale could be used for screening purposes in both clinical practice and research.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Domestic Violence
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Greece
  • Hospitals, Public
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period / psychology*
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spouse Abuse / diagnosis*