Accuracy of an intimate partner violence screening tool for female VHA patients: a replication and extension

J Trauma Stress. 2015 Feb;28(1):79-82. doi: 10.1002/jts.21985. Epub 2015 Jan 26.


The 4-item Hurt/Insult/Threaten/Scream (HITS) tool accurately detects past-year intimate partner violence (IPV) among female Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients; however, it lacks a sexual IPV item. This study evaluated the accuracy of an extended HITS (E-HITS), which adds a sexual IPV item, in female VHA patients. A sample of 80 female U.S. veteran VHA patients in New England completed a mail survey (50.0% response rate) that included the 5-item E-HITS and the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS-2). Women were included if they were in an intimate relationship in the past year. The women averaged 49 years of age and 86.0% of the sample was White. Accuracy of the 4-item HITS was compared to the 5-item E-HITS, using the CTS-2 as the reference. There were 20 women (25.0%) who reported past-year IPV on the CTS-2. The receiver operator characteristic curves demonstrated that the HITS and E-HITS performed nearly identically at their optimal cutoff scores of 6 and 7, respectively. At these cutoff scores, the sensitivity of both tools was .75, 95% CI [.55, .95]. The specificities were similar; .83 for the HITS, 95% CI [.73, .92], and .82 for the E-HITS, 95% CI [.72, .90]. Including a sexual IPV item may be clinically beneficial; it also attains the same accuracy of case identification as the HITS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence*
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans*