The Rating of Emotional Abuse in Childhood (REACH) questionnaire: A new self-report measure assessing history of childhood emotional abuse

Karen Goodall, Vilas Sawrikar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: A history of childhood emotional abuse (CEA) is prevalent among adults with affective disorders; therefore, a comprehensive measure of it is vital. The Rating of Emotional Abuse in Childhood Questionnaire (REACH) was developed to assess history of CEA in relation to parental behaviours of threat, ignoring, humiliation/denigration, scapegoating, antipathy, and overcontrol/conditionality in a single measure. This paper investigated the psychometric properties of REACH in a community sample and proposes values for classifying individuals as high-risk for CEA. 

Method: A convenience sample of N = 483 adults (Female, 78.3%) was recruited to complete questionnaires that included the REACH alongside measures of mental health, insecure attachment, emotion regulation, and childhood abuse. A subset of participants (n = 198) completed the REACH 7 days later. 

Results: Factor analysis indicated a 2-factor model provided a good fit. Factors were named ‘threatening’ and ‘devaluing’. A total scale score of CEA was also recommended. The threatening, devaluing, and total scales demonstrated strong psychometric properties with high internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and convergent validity, while cutoff values for identifying a high-risk CEA group demonstrated good discriminant utility. 

Conclusions: The results support REACH as a valid measure and suggest a history of CEA should be measured in relation to threatening and devaluing CEA as they represent unique dimensions of CEA even though they often co-occur.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106498
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume146
Early online date14 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • anxiety
  • childhood emotional abuse
  • depression
  • mental health
  • psychometric properties, factor analysis

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