Predicting behavior dysfunction of youth living in violent homes: A rapid assessment triage tool Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: To design and test a rapid assessment tool for predicting dysfunctional behavior of children who live in homes where their mother reports recent physical or sexual partner abuse. Methods: A cohort analysis was completed. 300 abused mothers accessing services for partner abuse were interviewed to determine risk factors for dysfunctional behavior of their children. Mothers were asked if they had taken their child to a health care provider within the last four months as well as questions about their functioning and the behaviors of the child during the same four months. Results: Among the 300 children living in a violent home, 81% had seen a health care provider within the preceding four months. Model testing revealed among the children classified as having the highest risk for dysfunctional behavior (predicted probability of clinical behaviors > 75%), between 82-100% of these children presented with clinical level behaviors when their mother sought services for the abuse. Conclusions: The Rapid Assessment Triage tools offer an evidence-based, high predictability method for rapid assessment and triage of children who are most likely to have dysfunctional behaviors when their abused mothers seek services. Since 81% of the children had seen a healthcare provider within the preceding 4 months of their mother seeking services, the triage tools offer healthcare providers an opportunity to assess the risk of dysfunctional behavior of children with a mother who screens positive for abuse. To maximize child health, mothers require assessment for partner violence and assessment for dysfunctional behavior of their children.

author list (cited authors)

  • Pennings, J., McFarlane, J. M., Paulson, R., Fredland, N., Binder, B., Koci, A., & Montalvo, N.

complete list of authors

  • Pennings, J||McFarlane, JM||Paulson, R||Fredland, N||Binder, B||Koci, A||Montalvo, Nora

publication date

  • January 1, 2015 11:11 AM