High Sensitivity and Specificity Screening for Clinically Significant Intimate Partner Violence

Richard E. Heyman, Katherine J.W. Baucom, Shu Xu, Amy M. Smith Slep, Jeffery D. Snarr, Heather M. Foran, Michael F. Lorber, Alexandra K. Wojda, David J. Linkh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that clinicians screen patients for intimate partner violence (IPV). This article aims to develop and test the first screeners for clinically significant physical and psychological IPV (i.e., acts meeting criteria in the International Classification of Diseases (11th ed.; ICD-11; World Health Organization, 2019) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The goal was to derive screeners that (1) are maximally brief, while still achieving high sensitivity and specificity; (2) assess perpetration and victimization when either men or women are reporting; and (3) use ICD-11/DSM-5 criteria as the reference standard. Random samples of active duty service members at 82 installations worldwide were obtained via e-mail invitation (2006: N = 54,543; 2008: N = 48,909); their response rates were excellent for long general population surveys with no payment (2006: 44.7%, 2008: 49.0%). The population of spouses at the participating installation was invited by mailed postcard (2006: N = 19,722; 2008: N = 12,127; response rates-2006: 12.3%, 2008: 10.8%). Clinically significant physical intimate partner violence can be effectively screened with as few as four items, with sensitivities >90% and specificities >95%; clinically significant psychological intimate partner violence can be screened with two items. Men and women can be screened with equivalent accuracy, as can those committing the violence and those victimized by it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Intimate partner violence
  • Partner abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Screening
  • Crime Victims/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Spouse Abuse/diagnosis
  • Male
  • Intimate Partner Violence/statistics & numerical data
  • Spouses/statistics & numerical data
  • Mass Screening
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Military Family/statistics & numerical data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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