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Development of a New Measure of Adolescent Dating Aggression: National Norms with a Focus on Marginalized Youth

NCJ Number
Emily F. Rothman; Carlos A. Cuevas; Elizabeth Mumford; Bruce Taylor; Megan Bair-Merritt; Julia Campbell
Date Published
July 2021
15 pages

This project was designed in response to the National Institute of justice’s (NIJ’s) call for the development of a new measure of adolescent dating abuse (ADA).




Study goals were 1) to establish which acts of ADA historically marginalized youth consider important to include in a comprehensive measure of ADA; 2) to establish psychometric properties of a new comprehensive measure of ADA using a population based, nationally representative sample of U.S. youth ages 11 – 21 years old; and 3) to determine the sensitivity and specificity of a 3-item short form of the comprehensive measure that can be used in clinical settings to screen youth for ADA victimization. This project involved three sub-studies. Study 1 was a qualitative, focus group study involving 48 youth designed to generate rich information about how specific subgroups of youth perceived ADA acts in order to inform the development of a comprehensive survey measure (Rothman et al., 2020). Study 2 was a quantitative, population-based cross-sectional survey study that collected data from 1,257 youth ages 11-21 years old, in order to establish the psychometric properties of a new, comprehensive ADA measurement instrument (Rothman et al., 2021). Study 3 collected data via an online survey from 220 youth, ages 11-21 years old, in order to develop a three-item, clinical screening tool for ADA victimization (Rothman et al., under review). The research conducted resulted in three products that advance the field. First, it produced two new valid, reliable, psychometrically sound measures (i.e., survey instruments) of ADA victimization and ADA perpetration, which is called the MARSHA. These are now freely available to any researcher or practitioner that would like to use them. Second, the  project produced a three-item short version of the MARSHA victimization called the MARSHA-C. The MARSHA[1]C has acceptable sensitivity and specificity, and can be used in clinical or direct service environments as a rapid screener to determine if a youth may be experiencing ADA victimization.

Date Published: July 1, 2021