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J Clin Psychol. 1986 Jan;42(1):169-72.

Screening spouse abusers for child abuse potential.


This study investigated the ability of the Child Abuse Potential (CAP) Inventory to screen for child abuse in a group of spouse abusers. Eighty-seven untreated male spouse abusers and 95 nonabusers were administered the CAP Inventory. All of the subjects were active duty, United States military personnel. The completed, valid protocols revealed that 36.5% of the spouse abusers had elevated child abuse scores, while only 9.1% of the nonabusers had elevated abuse scores. An analysis of variance indicated that the spouse abusers had significantly higher mean abuse scores. Four concurrent reports of child abuse were made in the spouse abuse group. Two of these spouse/child abusers had valid protocols, and both scored significantly higher than those spouse abusers with no reported child abuse. The finding that over 36% of the spouse abusers had elevated child abuse scores supports Walker's (1979) finding that one-third of spouse abusers are child abusers. A limitation in this study is that no longitudinal data were obtained to determine whether those with elevated child abuse scores who were not reported for child abuse subsequently would abuse their children.

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