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Child Abuse Negl. 2002 Sep;26(9):939-53.

The Sexual and Physical Abuse Questionnaire (SPAQ). A screening instrument for adults to assess past and current experiences of abuse.

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Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands.



We reconstructed and validated a simple questionnaire to be completed by adult respondents for the assessment of sexual and physical abuse during childhood and later life, the Sexual and Physical Abuse Questionnaire (SPAQ).


The criterion validity of the questionnaire was investigated in a population of psychiatric outpatients (n = 134) using the Structured Trauma Interview [Am. J. Psychiatr. 156 (1999) 379] as gold standard for the assessment of sexual and physical abuse.


All questionnaires were returned fully completed. The measures of agreement and the predictive measures of the questionnaire were satisfactory, in particular with respect to experiences of sexual abuse. Positive answering of the questionnaire increased the odds for sexual abuse by a factor of 12-17.5, and negative answering of the questionnaire reduced the odds by a third. The odds for physical abuse were increased by a factor of 8 with positive answering of the questionnaire, and reduced by a third with negative answering.


The questionnaire may be a useful screening instrument in research and in clinical practice to assess sexual abuse during childhood and later years. As a screening instrument for physical abuse it is less satisfactory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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