The CAP Inventory is a caretaker-report measure developed to estimate the risk of a parent physically abusing a child. The test consists of 160 questions with a total of 10 standard scales and 2 special scales (added to the measure in 1990). The 10 standard scales include a 77-item Child Abuse Scale and 3 validity scales.
There have been multiple studies that have shown that a mother’s score on the CAP inventory is predictive of the child’s long-term intelligence, socioemotional outcome and development as well as future behavior by the parent.
Milner, J. (1986). The Child Abuse Potential Inventory Manual, DeKalb, IL: Psytec Inc. Milner, J. (1990). An Interpretive Manual for The Child Abuse Potential Inventory, Dekalb, IL: Psytec Inc.
Agree or Disagree
|Mood and Anxiety Symptoms||Distress||Not available|
|Ego Strength||Not available|
|onal Problems||Problems with Child and Self||Not available|
|Problems with Family||Not available|
166, but 215 is the recommended “conservative” cutoff score, so as to have fewer false positives.
|Test-Retest: # days- 1||Acceptable||Correlation||0.64||0.94||0.91|
|Internal Consistency||Acceptable||Split Half||0.96||0.98||0.97|
he above 1-day test-retest reliabilities are for the abuse scale, control sample only. At the 1-week test-retest: Min=.89, Max=.94, Avg=.90 At the 1-month test-retest: Min=.81, Max=.91, Avg=.83 At the 3-month test-retest: Min=.64, Max=.86, Avg=.75
Items were selected after an extensive literature search and with input from Child Protective Services. Item analysis was conducted to determine items with the greatest discriminative ability. Exploratory factor analyses and stepwise regression were used to predict abuse status. Cross-validation was used to replicate findings.
|Validity Type||Not known||Not found||Nonclincal Samples||Clinical Samples||Diverse Samples|
|Sensitive to Change||Yes|
|Sensitive to Theoretically Distinct Groups|
Miller, Handal, Gilner, & Cross (1991) found that Black adolescents aged 14-18 scored higher than the adult normative sample of the CAPI, suggesting that different cutoff scores need to be empirically established for adolescents. Adolescents' abuse history and history of witnessing violence were associated with higher abuse potential scores.
|Not Known||Not Found||Nonclinical Samples||Clinical Samples||Diverse Samples|
See Chapter 5 in the Technical Manual.
1. To avoid misclassification, cautious use of the CAPI is recommended in a situation where target base rates of physical abuse are very low. 2. Fewer false positives occur when more conservative cutoffs are used.
|Language:||Translated||Back Translated||Reliable||Good Psychometrics||Similar Factor Structure||Norms Available||Measure Developed for this Group|
Initial input was gathered from researchers and CPS workers, and an initial questionnaire was developed with 334 items. An initial study was conducted with a small (n=38), fairly homogeneous group of families involved with Child Protection services in North Carolina. Based on the results from initial validity studies, the questions were trimmed to the current 160. Based on the findings from the original study, a second study was begun. It included 130 parents who were given the 160-question form. The sample included 65 abusing parents matched with 65 nonabusing parents from North Carolina and Oklahoma.
|Population Type:||Measure Used with Members of this Group||Members of this Group Studied in Peer-Reviewed Journals||Reliable||Good Psychometrics||Norms Available||Measure Developed for this Group|
|1. Substance abusers||Yes|
|2. Day care employees||Yes|
1. Easy to use and score. 2. Demonstrated ability to screen for physical abuse risk factors in parents. 3. Has been studied and validated multiple times and is used frequently. 4. Spanish version well studied.
1. According to the manual, care must be taken when utilizing this measure outside of the area of Child Protection. 2. This measure was designed as a tool to identify high-risk parents for physical abuse, and not other types of abuse. 3. It should be used only as one tool, and not as the sole predictor of abuse. 4. This measure is lengthy and takes considerable time to complete. 5. The items are face valid and many parents respond defensively. Although the validity scales help detect invalid response patterns, this still leaves the problem of having invalid responses.
A PsychInfo literature search of the words "Child Abuse Potential Inventory” or “CAPI" (6/05) anywhere revealed that the measure has been referenced in 247 peer-reviewed journal articles. A sampling of these articles appears below. Ammerman, R.T., Kolko, D.J., Kirisci, L., Blackson, T.C., & Dawes, M.A. (1999). Child abuse potential in parents with histories of substance use disorder. Child Abuse & Neglect, 23, 1225-1238. Barbich, A., & Bringiotti, M.I. (1997). Un studio para la adaptacion y validacion del CAP (Child Abuse Potential Inventory). para su uso en la Argentia. Revista del Institutio de Investigaciones de la Facultad do Psicologia, 2(2), 15-31. Baumann, B.L. & Kolko, D.J. (2002). A comparison of abusive and nonabusive mothers of abused children. Child Maltreatment, 7, 369-376. Black, M. M., Nair, P., Kight, C., Wachtel, R., Roby, P., & Schuler, M. (1994). Parenting and early development among children of drug-abusing women: Effects of home intervention. Pediatrics 94, 440-448. Burrell, B., Thompson, B., & Sexton, D. (1992. The measurement integrity of data collected using the Child Abuse Potential Inventory. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 52, 933-1001. Haapasalo, J., & Aaltonen, T. (1999). Child abuse potential: How persistent? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 14, 571-585. Hansen, D.J., & McMillan, V.M. (1990). Behavioral assessment of child-abusive and neglectful families. Behavior Modification, 14, 255-278. Medora, N.P., Wilson, S., & Larson, J.H. (2001). Attitudes toward parenting strategies, potential for child abuse, and parental satisfaction of ethnically diverse low-income U.S. mothers. Journal of Social Psychology,141(3), 335-348. Miller, T.R., Handal, P.J., Gilner, F.H., & Cross, J.F. (1991). The relationship of abuse and witnessing violence on the Child Abuse Potential Inventory with Black adolescents. Journal of Family Violence, 6(4), 351-363. Milner, J.S. (1994). Assessing physical child abuse risk: The Child Abuse Potential Inventory. Clinical Psychology Review, 14, 547-583. Milner, J.S. (1989). Additional cross-validation of the Child Abuse Potential Inventory. Psychological Assessment, 1, 219-223. Milner, J.S. (1989). Applications of the Child Abuse Potential Inventory. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45, 450-454. Milner, J.S., & Ayoub, C. (1980). Evaluation of “at risk” parents using the Child Abuse Potential Inventory. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 36, 945-948. Monroe, L.D., & Schellenbach, C.J. (1989). Relationship of Child Abuse Potential Inventory scores to parental responses: A construct validity study. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 11, 39-58. Mylod, D.E., Whitman, T.L., & Borkowski, J.G. (1997). Predicting adolescent mothers' transition to adulthood. Journal of Research in Adolescence, 7, 457-478. Rodriguez, C.M., & Price, B.L. (2004). Attributions and discipline history as predictors of child abuse. Potential and future discipline practices. Child Abuse & Neglect, 28, 845-861.