Development and validation of a child physical and sexual abuse prevention scale

Erika L. Thompson, Ashvita Garg, Katharine Collier Esser, Deborah Caddy, Sarah Matthes, Danielle Rohr, Emily E. Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: School-based child abuse primary prevention programs are delivered across the country; however, a validated measurement tool that is feasible to deliver to students is unavailable. The purpose of this study was to describe the development and validation of a measurement tool for knowledge and skills related to the primary prevention of child physical and sexual abuse. Methods: Two elementary schools and 404 students participated. Students completed 5 instruments: the Play it Safe!® scale, 2 scales related to abuse prevention, and 2 unrelated scales. For assessment of the convergent and divergent validity, correlations were estimated and corresponding p-values in SAS version 9.4. Results: For the Play it Safe!® scale, the mean score was 10.87 out of 14 potential points (SD = 2.73; higher scores = higher knowledge). The internal consistency of the scale was adequate with a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.77. We found strong correlations for the 2 convergent validity scales, and weak correlations for the 2 divergent validity scales. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the divergent and convergent validity of a child abuse primary prevention knowledge scale that can be used in school-settings and can assist in the measurement of primary prevention knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-955
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Child physical abuse
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Prevention
  • School
  • Validation


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