Psychometric evidence for indirect assessment of child abuse risk in child welfare-involved mothers

Academic Article


  • Most research on factors related to physical child abuse risk rely heavily on direct self-report measures, which is a methodological strategy susceptible to participant response distortions. Such methodological reliance obfuscates the interpretations rendered about the risk factors predictive of child abuse. Efforts to develop alternative indirect assessment approaches, such as analog tasks, show promise, although most of those studies have applied these methods to community samples rather than with child welfare-involved samples. The present study evaluated the psychometric evidence for four separate analog tasks that have not yet been considered with mothers identified for child maltreatment by child welfare services, also contrasted to a sociodemographically matched sample of mothers. The results indicate acceptable reliability for the analog tasks, with additional evidence of validity. However, the two groups of mothers did not substantively differ across measures, suggesting that identification for abuse through child protective services does not differentiate from those closely matched on critical sociodemographic characteristics. The promis-ing preliminary results on these analog tasks in the current study suggest that indirect analog as-sessment approaches to estimate child abuse risk could be useful in efforts to minimize depend-ence on self-report methods.

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    Author List

  • Rodriguez C; Silvia P