“What does that mean?": The content validity of the ISPCAN Child Abuse Screening Tool - Child version (ICAST-C) in Romania, South Africa, and the Philippines

Lakshmi Neelakantan*, Deborah Fry, Lani Florian, Doriana Silion, Madelina Filip, Mildred Thabeng, Kathlyn Te, Jun Angelo Sunglao, Mengyao Lu, Catherine L. Ward, Adriana Baban, Rosanne M. Jocson, Liane Alampay, Franziska Meinck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) Child Abuse Screening Tool (Children's Version), known as the ICAST-C Version 3, is used widely to assess violence against children, but there is limited psychometric evidence, especially on content validity.

This study aimed to assess the content validity of the ICAST-C with adolescents in Romania, South Africa, and the Philippines.

A purposive sample of adolescents (N = 53, 51 % female) were recruited from urban areas in Romania, the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, and Metro Manila, Philippines. Semi-structured one-on-one in-depth cognitive interviews sought adolescent perspectives on the relevance, comprehensibility, and comprehensiveness of the ICAST-C. Data were analysed using template analysis.

The ICAST-C was broadly perceived to be relevant and comprehensive in measuring violence against children in all study locations. However, there were issues with the comprehensibility of the measure, described at three levels: interpreting items, undertaking coherent elaborations of relevant behaviors and places, and generating a coherent response to the questions.

Suggestions to revise the ICAST-C include, among others, adding a practice or how-to section on answering the survey, clarifying the intent of questions, especially on neglect and sexual abuse, emphasizing that questions cover all locations, and asking more positive questions. Pilot studies testing the content validity and cultural appropriateness are needed as a matter of practice in large self-report surveys.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105869
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Early online date19 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • child abuse
  • child maltreatment
  • measurement
  • psychometrics
  • content validity
  • cognitive interviews


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