Assessing abuse risk beyond self-report: Analog task of acceptability of parent-child aggression

Academic Article


  • Objectives: The present investigation reports on the development and initial validation of a new analog task, the Parent-Child Aggression Acceptability Movie Task (P-CAAM), intended to assess respondents' acceptance of parent-child aggression, including both physical discipline and physical abuse. Methods: Two independent samples were utilized to develop and evaluate the P-CAAM: an undergraduate sample to initially pilot the task and a separate sample of normative parents for additional assessment of validity. Scores from the P-CAAM were compared to related measures, including measures of self-reported disciplinary attitudes, child abuse potential, harsh parenting style, and use and escalation of physical discipline practices on another analog parenting task. Results: Across the studies, the P-CAAM demonstrated acceptable internal consistency and construct validity, evidencing mild to moderate associations with both self-report and analog measures. Participants demonstrating increased acceptance of physical discipline and physical abuse on the P-CAAM analog task also reported greater approval of physical discipline, greater use of and escalation of physical discipline, harsher parenting styles, and higher child abuse potential on two separate measures. Conclusions: The P-CAAM analog appears to offer a promising alternative and/or supplement to conventional self-report measures, assessing attitudes regarding the acceptability of parent-child aggression in a way that is less likely to be influenced by social desirability. Suggestions for future evaluations with alternative samples, as well as possible implications of the data for disciplinary reactions are discussed. Practice implications: The development of alternatives to self-report measurement may lead to clarification of theoretical models of abuse in ways that lead to improvements in intervention programming; analogs may also provide a useful means to assess intervention programming outcomes. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rodriguez CM; Russa MB; Harmon N
  • Start Page

  • 199
  • End Page

  • 209
  • Volume

  • 35
  • Issue

  • 3