CitationBrumley, Lauren D.; Brumley, Benjamin P.; & Jaffee, Sara R. (2019). Comparing cumulative index and factor analytic approaches to measuring maltreatment in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Child Abuse & Neglect. vol. 87 pp. 64-76
AbstractChild maltreatment is a complex and multifaceted construct in need of advanced statistical techniques to improve its measurement. The current study compared the predictive utility of a cumulative index to a factor analytic approach for constructing a measure of maltreatment. Data were from Waves III and IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Wave III: n = 14,800; Wave IV: n = 12,288). As adults, participants retrospectively reported on their childhood experiences of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, supervisory neglect, and social services investigations. Both the cumulative index and a two-factor solution showed evidence of convergent validity, predicting lifetime incidence of homelessness, being paid for sex, and various measures of running away or living apart from biological parents, and prospectively predicting depression, substance use, and criminal behavior. The latent variables, derived from a factor analytic approach, had greater explanatory power for many outcomes compared to the cumulative index, even when controlling for sociodemographic variables. Results suggest that factor analysis is a better methodology than a cumulative index for measuring maltreatment in large datasets when explanatory power for external outcomes is of greatest concern.
Keyword(s)Add Health Maltreatment Measurement Factor analysis Cumulative risk
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleChild Abuse & Neglect
Author(s)Brumley, Lauren D.
Brumley, Benjamin P.
Jaffee, Sara R.