Towards the development of an intimate partner violence screening tool for gay and bisexual men

Rob Stephenson, Casey D. Hall, Whitney Williams, Kimi Sato, Catherine Finneran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Introduction: Recent research suggests that gay and bisexual men experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at rates comparable to heterosexual women. However, current screening tools used to identify persons experiencing IPV were largely created for use with heterosexual women. Given the high prevalence of IPV among gay and bisexual men in the United States, the lack of IPV screening tools that reflect the lived realities of gay and bisexual men is problematic. This paper describes the development of a short-form IPV screening tool intended to be used with gay and bisexual men. Methods: A novel definition of IPV, informed by formative Focus Group Discussions, was derived from a quantitative survey of approximately 1,100 venue-recruited gay and bisexual men. From this new definition, a draft IPV screening tool was created. After expert review (n=13) and cognitive interviews with gay and bisexual men (n=47), a screening tool of six questions was finalized. A national, online-recruited sample (n=822) was used to compare rates of IPV identified by the novel tool and current standard tools. Results: The six-item, short-form tool created through the six-stage research process captured a significantly higher prevalence of recent experience of IPV compared to a current and commonly used screening tool (30.7% versus 7.5%, p<0.05). The novel short-form tool described additional domains of IPV not currently found in screening tools, including monitoring behaviors, controlling behaviors, and HIV-related IPV. The screener takes less than five minutes to complete and is 6th grade reading level. Conclusion: Gay and bisexual men experiencing IPV must first be identified before services can reach them. Given emergent literature that demonstrates the high prevalence of IPV among gay and bisexual men and the known adverse health sequela of experiencing IPV, this novel screening tool may allow for the quick identification of men experiencing IPV and the opportunity for referrals for the synergistic management of IPV. Future work should focus on implementing this tool in primary or acute care settings in order to determine its acceptability and its feasibility of use more broadly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-401
Number of pages11
JournalWestern Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


  • HIV
  • IPV
  • MSM
  • Public health
  • Screening


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