The Reliability and Validity of the Dating Abuse Perpetration Acts Scale in an Urban, Emergency Department-Based Sample of Male and Female Youth

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Journal of Interpersonal Violence


© The Author(s) 2016. Adolescent dating abuse (ADA) is an important public health problem, but existing measurement instruments have limitations. This study assessed the reliability and validity of the Dating Abuse Perpetration Acts Scale (DAPAS), a medium-length instrument (24 items) designed for use with adolescents aged 16 to 21 years. In Phase 1, 466 adolescent pediatric emergency department patients who reported perpetrating at least one act of physical ADA in the last year completed the DAPAS. In the second phase, 33 patients completed the DAPAS; two previously established dating violence measures, the Safe Dates Perpetration Act Scale and the revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2); and a measure of violence, the Self-Report of Offending (SRO). Categorical confirmatory factor analyses indicated that a one-factor model of ADA perpetration best fit the data. Validity analyses showed moderate to high correlations between the DAPAS and both the Safe Dates measure and the CTS2 (r =.70 and.59) scores, and a small to moderate correlation between the DAPAS and SRO (r =.43). Sensitivity and specificity analysis of the DAPAS using 10 cut-points revealed an optimal cut-point, which correctly classified 85% of the respondents. The DAPAS showed concurrent validity with the Safe Dates measure and CTS2, as well as discriminant validity in its ability to differentiate perpetrators of violence in general from perpetrators of ADA. The DAPAS scale is a good alternative to the Safe Dates measure and should be considered for use in research studies of ADA.