WAST Is Effective Tool for Identifying Domestic Abuse of Females - Woman Abuse Screening Tool

Author: Judith Belle Brown
Date: March 15, 2001

(North American Primary Care Research Group) The Woman Abuse Screening Tool (WAST) was found to be a reliable and valid measure of abuse when used in the family practice setting, and family physicians and their patients were comfortable with the WAST being a component of the clinical visit. The cross-sectional study included a random sample of 20 physicians practicing in urban and rural settings and 10 to 15 consecutive women during the course of regular care. The patients' scores correlated well with their scores on the Abuse Risk Inventory (ARI). Using the WAST-Short, 26 of 307 patients (8.5 percent) screened were identified as having experienced abuse. There were significant differences on all eight of the individual WAST items and the overall WAST scores between the women who screened positive for abuse and those who screened negative. Ninety-one percent of patients reported being comfortable or very comfortable when asked the WAST questions by their family physician. After each visit, the family physician reported their level of comfort with the WAST and their previous relationship with that patient, and patients completed a survey about their comfort level in being asked the WAST questions and being evaluated using the ARI.-- JUDITH BELLE BROWN, PH.D., ET AL., University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

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