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September 2005Vol. 6, No. 7A Brief Form of the Child Abuse Potential Inventory

Researchers have developed and tested a brief form of J. S. Milner's (1986) Child Abuse Potential Inventory (CAP), a self-report instrument that is the most widely used measure of risk for parental child abuse. The new, brief form was developed to address some features of the CAP that have limited its usability with parents, including its length, occasional complex language, and assumption that parents are current caregivers. The Brief Child Abuse Potential Inventory (BCAP) reduces the number of items from 160 to 33, can be administered in 5 minutes, is written at a fourth-grade or lower reading level, and does not assume active parenthood on the part of the parent completing the form.

The BCAP was developed with a sample of at-risk parents (n=1,470) who were enrolled in prevention or treatment programs, and it was validated with another sample of at-risk parents (n=713). Results show that the brief version overlapped highly with the full CAP score and showed desirable psychometric properties. In addition, scores from both the BCAP and the CAP demonstrated nearly identical patterns of associations with future child protective services reports.

The full article on this new inventory, "A Brief Form of the Child Abuse Potential Inventory: Development and Validation," by S. J. Ondersma, M. J. Chaffin, S. M. Mullins, and J. M. LeBreton, was published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (Volume 34:2). The issue is available for purchase online at the Lawrence Erlbaum Associates website at