Adult recall of childhood psychological maltreatment: Definitional strategies and challenges
This review paper was undertaken to compare legal definitions, conceptual definitions, and existing survey instruments of adult recall of childhood psychological maltreatment and to identify definitional challenges that remain. Fifteen measures were compared in order to determine whether the items on the measures captured all of the core constituent components of psychological abuse. Five key issues were identified for the field including, (1) lack of consistency in the term itself, (2) lack of consistency between legal and conceptual definitions, (3) lack of consistency between conceptual and operational definitions, (4) lack of clarity as to the role of witnessing domestic violence, and (5) lack of consistency in psychometric characteristics of the measures. Taken together these issues interfere with the ability of researchers to integrate findings across studies and to move the field forward. Suggestions for systematically addressing these issues are offered.
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