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Fam Pract. 2005 Dec;22(6):617-23. Epub 2005 Jul 29.

Screening for domestic violence in a predominantly Hispanic clinical setting.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA.



Domestic violence is a public health problem that is common across ethnic groups. The utility of validated screening tools to detect abuse in diverse populations remains largely unknown.


The purpose of the study was to test the reliability and validity of a brief 4-question instrument, HITS, among predominantly Hispanic women.


We conducted a cross-sectional study in an urban clinical setting. Two hundred and two women completed HITS and two other previously validated tools, the Index of Spouse Abuse-Physical Scale (ISA-P) and the Woman Abuse Screening Tool (WAST). Instruments were prepared in English and translated to Spanish. Reliability and validity of HITS were compared with the ISA-P and WAST. Performance measures of HITS were compared with the ISA-P or WAST as a criterion standard.


Cronbach's alphas were 0.76 and 0.61 for the English version and Spanish version of HITS, respectively. When administered first and analysed alone, the Spanish version of HITS had a reliability of 0.71. For both English and Spanish versions HITS was significantly correlated to ISA-P and WAST. The English HITS version had a sensitivity of 86% and a specificity of 99%. A cut-off score of 5.5 for Spanish HITS version achieved a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 86%.


HITS demonstrated good reliability and validity with ISA-P in English speaking patients. The Spanish version of HITS showed moderate reliability and good validity with WAST in Spanish speaking patients. HITS may help physicians detect abuse in predominantly Hispanic clinical settings.

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