Screening for Intimate Partner Violence in Family Mediation: An Examination of Multiple Methodological Approaches Using Item Response Theory

Fernanda S. Rossi, Amy G. Applegate, Connie J. Beck, Christine Timko, Amy Holtzworth-Munroe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many divorcing/separating parties seeking mediation to resolve family-related issues report intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization from the other party in the case. It is imperative that mediation staff screen parties for IPV so they can make informed decisions regarding how to proceed with mediation. Existing IPV screens for mediation have significant limitations. We examined three methodological approaches using item response theory that address these limitations by increasing the efficiency and clinical utility of an existing standardized IPV screen for mediation, the Mediator’s Assessment of Safety Issues and Concerns (N = 904 mediating parties). We identified three subsets of items, with initial evidence for their validity, focused on helping mediation staff identify high levels of IPV or parties at risk for potentially negative mediation outcomes or needing specialized safety accommodations in mediation. Clinical recommendations are provided indicating which approach is most promising to be used in mediation settings. Overall, findings help advance understanding of how item response theory methodology can enhance the precision of IPV screening in mediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAssessment
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • divorce
  • family mediation
  • intimate partner violence
  • item response theory
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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