U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Expectations Test: Trauma Scales for Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, Exposure to Family Violence, and Posttraumatic Stress

NCJ Number
Child Maltreatment Volume: 8 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2003 Pages: 218-229
Kevin J. Gully
Date Published
August 2003
This study investigated whether measurement scales could be developed for use with the Expectations Test to help assess the effects of abuse and exposure to family violence on children.
It is important to know if children have been abused, have been exposed to family violence, or have developed posttraumatic stress in order to facilitate treatment options and administrative and judicial decisions regarding the children’s protection and well-being. However, many of the scales currently in place to help evaluate abuse-related sequelae fall short in any number of areas. Many of the current scales have age limitations that do not reach very young children or older teenagers; others require a parent or other caregiver to complete the scales. As such, the author examined the possibility of developing more complete and appropriate scales capable of assessing child maltreatment and its associated sequelae. Multiple regression analysis of Gully’s Expectations Test was used to develop four scales to evaluate exposure to sexual abuse, physical abuse, exposure to family violence, and posttraumatic stress. Cronbach’s alpha testing and test-retest reliability testing indicate that each of the four scales can provide data to evaluate children. The authors caution that although these scales provide helpful information, they are not sufficient in themselves to reach conclusions regarding the abuse status of children or the emotional trauma experienced by children. Future research is needed to determine the extent that these results generalize to other children. References