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Measuring the Lifetime Experience of Domestic Violence: Application of the Life History Calendar Method

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In the absence of a "gold standard," research on domestic violence relies primarily on self-report, the quality of which is known to decline as the length of the recall period increases. Eliciting valid and reliable self-report data is crucial to the development of prevention and intervention policies and services. Nevertheless, existing measures typically do not incorporate devices to facilitate respondents' recall of the lifetime experience of domestic violence. This article describes the application of the Life History Calendar (LHC) method (Freedman, Thornton, Camburn, Alwin, & Young-DeMarco, 1988) to increase a respondent's recall of domestic violence victimization over the lifecourse. The LHC method elicits memorable information of a personal nature (e.g., children's birth dates) and uses this information to facilitate the recall of less memorable events. A recent field test of this LHC measure indicates its utility in assessing domestic violence victimization, which takes place in a complex sequence of episodes and often involves multiple perpetrators over the lifecourse.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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