The reliability and validity of a sexual and physical abuse history questionnaire in female patients with gastrointestinal disorders

Behav Med. Fall 1995;21(3):141-50. doi: 10.1080/08964289.1995.9933752.


Although the literature on the psychological and medical sequelae of sexual and physical abuse has been growing, researchers have made few attempts to standardize the measurement of abuse history. The authors of this article report the first standardization of a screening instrument to identify sexual and physical abuse in a medical population. Reliability was assessed using test-retest methodology, and validity was supported by comparison with an interview (criterion validity). The sample included 139 female patients in a gastroenterology clinic. Data indicate acceptable test-retest reliability of the sexual abuse instrument (81%) and 81% overall agreement between the questionnaire and the interview on any sexual abuse. In comparison, the authors found 77% agreement in test-retest reliability of the physical abuse questionnaire and 70% agreement between the questionnaire and the interview on physical abuse. From their analyses, they concluded that the sexual abuse questionnaire and, to a lesser extent, the physical abuse instrument have acceptable levels of reliability and validity. As a screening tool, the abuse measures could be used to identify women in clinic settings for further study.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sick Role
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology
  • Violence / psychology