Measurement of emotional/psychological child maltreatment: A review
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BACKGROUND: Emotional/psychological child maltreatment (ECM) is a major public health problem with serious consequences including emotional and behavioral problems. Nevertheless, ECM is an understudied area. OBJECTIVES: The aims of this review are to identify measures of ECM and to evaluate their psychometric properties and utilities. We provide a summary of ECM measures that have been tested for their reliability and validity, evaluate the quality of these assessments and suggest directions for future research. METHODS: We searched PsycINFO and Medline databases from 2000 to 2010 in addition to a hand search of retrieved references; 2344 were identified and the abstracts reviewed independently by two authors to identify relevant articles. Using pre-established criteria, 144 of those articles were selected and reviewed in full to assess whether the instruments included a separate measure of ECM and its psychometric properties. RESULTS: Forty-five articles examining 33 measures met the inclusion criteria and were selected for further review. The majority of measures demonstrated acceptable reliability; fewer measures had evaluated one or more types of validity. CONCLUSION: Both reliability and validity testing are required in order to establish more accurate measures of ECM. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Reliable and valid measures are necessary to enhance our limited knowledge about the distribution, determinants and consequences of ECM.
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