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The reliability and validity of empirically scaled measures of psychological/verbal control and physical/sexual abuse: Relationship between current negative mood and a history of abuse independent of other negative life events

Pitzner, J.K. and Drummond, P.D. (1997) The reliability and validity of empirically scaled measures of psychological/verbal control and physical/sexual abuse: Relationship between current negative mood and a history of abuse independent of other negative life events. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 43 (2). pp. 125-142.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0022-3999(96)00370-4
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Abstract

A history of psychological, physical, and sexual abuse, and circumscribed negative life events are precursors of current psychosomatic symptomatology. However, it is not known whether a history of abuse predicts current symptomatology, independent of other negative life events. We developed three new abuse scales: Psychological/Verbal; Control; and Physical/Sexual, which emerged when survey evidence of a random sample of the general public (N = 195) was factor analyzed. Test-retest reliabilities conducted on university students (N = 62) were moderate to high: Psychological/Verbal (r = 0.86); Control (r = 0.76); Physical/Sexual (r = 0.74); and Negative Life Events (r = 0.84). A Negative Life Event scale was developed to measure the cumulative effects of events (over the lifespan). A total score was calculated by summing event scores, weighted in proportion to 11 independent judges' ratings of distress for later use (Kendall's W; x2 = 183.67, df = 67, p < 0.0001). Thirteen criterion measures of current symptomatology were administered to a subsample of the original sample (N = 92), and collapsed into one factor for use as the criterion in a regression analysis; results showed that, independent of negative life events and respondent demographics, the Psychological/Verbal and Control Abuse Scales predicted current negative mood and psychosomatic complaints, and the association between current symptomatology and the Physical/Sexual Abuse Scale approached, but did not achieve, statistical significance (t = 1.99, df = 71, p <.0501). The present study demonstrates that the three abuse scales may be powerful predictors of current symptomatology, and that they have the potential for further investigating a wider range of current medical, physiological, and psychological problems.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: Elsevier
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/7445
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