Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

September 2006


Published in Assessment, Volume 13, No. 3 (September 2006), pp. 297–312. DOI: 10.1177/1073191106288391 Copyright © 2006 Sage Publications. Used by permission.


This study compared retrospective reports of childhood sexual and physical abuse as assessed by two measures: the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), which uses a Likert-type scaling approach, and the Computer Assisted Maltreatment Inventory (CAMI), which employs a behaviorally specific means of assessment. Participants included 1,195 undergraduate students recruited from three geographically diverse universities. Agreement was high across the two measures in the classification of victim status (92% and 80% for sexual and physical abuse, respectively). However, the CTQ classified more participants as sexually abused than did the CAMI, whereas the opposite trend was found for physical abuse. For child physical abuse, many participants reporting abusive acts on the CAMI scored below the cut-point for physical abuse on the CTQ. Classifi cation differences for both types of abuse were largely unrelated to demographic factors, socially desirable responding, or self-reported withholding of information. The implications of these results are discussed in light of future research using retrospective methods of assessing childhood abuse.