Date of Award

8-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Social Work

Major Professor

Charles Glisson

Committee Members

William Nugent, Marlys Staudt, Robert T. Ladd

Abstract

The Air Force Family Needs Screener (FNS) has been utilized as a screening measure for risk of both child maltreatment and intimate partner violence (IPV) within the context of a military primary prevention program called the New Parent Support Program (NPSP) since 1988. However, this measure has only been validated with the initial pilot samples used in its development. The current study sought to assess the reliability, dependability, factor structure and predictive capacity of the FNS using a new sample of mothers. In addition, this study sought to develop shortened versions of the FNS in order to determine if they performed as well as or better than the original version of the measure. Results indicated the original FNS has adequate reliability and dependability, but the cut-score currently used in practice resulted in a fairly low sensitivity rate and corresponding high false negative rate. Since there was no evidence of measurement invariance of a common items model tested across four different population groups, three shortened versions of the FNS made up only of common items to all four groups were also tested. All shortened models appeared to perform as well as the original FNS, suggesting the FNS could be shortened, while retaining its predictive capacity. A shortened model made up of only thirty-six common items was recommended as a revised version of the FNS for implementation with the Air Force. Although not the most parsimonious model, this model retained the highest rate of sensitivity while still improving the acceptability of the measure for staff and respondents alike.

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