Intimate partner violence victimisation in early adulthood: psychometric properties of a new measure and gender differences in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the psychometric properties of a novel, brief measure of physical, psychological and sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) and estimate the overall prevalence of and gender differences in this violence. DESIGN: Data are from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a birth-cohort study. SETTING: Avon, UK. PARTICIPANTS: 2128 women and 1145 men who completed the questionnaire assessment at age 21. OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants responded to eight items on physical, psychological and sexual IPV victimisation at age 21. Participants indicated whether the violence occurred before age 18 and/or after and led to any of eight negative impacts (eg, fear). We estimated the prevalence of IPV and tested for gender differences using χ2 or t-tests. We evaluated the IPV victimisation measure based on internal consistency (alpha coefficient), dimensionality (exploratory factor analysis) and convergent validity with negative impacts. RESULTS: Overall, 37% of participants reported experiencing any IPV and 29% experienced any IPV after age 18. Women experienced more frequent IPV, more acts of IPV and more negative impacts than men (p<0.001 for all comparisons). The IPV measure showed high internal consistency (α=0.95), strong evidence for unidimensionality and was highly correlated with negative impacts (r=0.579, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of IPV victimisation in the ALSPAC cohort was considerable for both women and men. The strong and consistent gender differences in the frequency and severity of IPV suggest clinically meaningful differences in experiences of this violence. The ALSPAC measure for IPV victimisation was valid and reliable, indicating its suitability for further aetiological investigations.
epidemiology, mental health, public health, social medicine