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Shir Daphna Tekoah - A Novel Screening Tool for Assessing Child Abuse

A Novel Screening Tool for Assessing Child Abuse: The Medical Somatic Dissociation Questionnaire–MSDQ

Shir Daphna Tekoah

Uri Balla, Shir Daphna-Tekoah, Rachel Lev-Wiesel, David Israeli

Child abuse is a worldwide prevalent phenomenon that impacts the lives of millions of children. It is known that most abused children and their family are reluctant to disclose the abuse to health-care professionals, a situation that often prevents or might lead to misdiagnosis. Therefore, there is a growing need for tools for physicians that assist in the evaluation of sexual abuse in this population.

Somatic dissociation is known to be highly significantly associated with childhood abuse, particularly with childhood sexual abuse (CSA). Currently, its diagnosis is hampered by the lack of a validated questionnaire that can be used with equal ease by all members of healthcare teams, be they physicians, nurses, or social workers. While the Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire (SDQ-20) and similar questionnaires are excellent research tools, there is no suitable applied measure for use in the assessment of distress due to CSA. The current lecture will present the Medical Somatic Dissociation Questionnaire–MSDQ, for evaluating somatic dissociation in the healthcare system setting. A total of 541 adult participants, 160 (30%) male and 381 (70%) female, of average age 35 years were recruited from the general population via the Internet, including Facebook. All subjects participated voluntarily, and their anonymity was guaranteed. The Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5) was used for screening subjects for reporting or not reporting a history of CSA. Evidence for the validity and reliability of the MSDQ scale is presented. Our findings indicated powerful internal consistency, reliability, and convergent validity of the MSDQ, with high correlations between the MSDQ and the SDQ-20 and also between the MSDQ and psychological symptomatology. In addition, there was known-groups validity when differences between adults who experienced CSA and those who did not were compared. Importantly, the MSDQ can be easily integrated into the evaluation process performed by medical professionals in the treatment of patients who have experienced CSA.


Dr. Uri Balla, Pediatric Emergency Medicine Unit, Child Welfare Committee, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot, Israel.

Dr. Shir Daphna-Tekoah , Head of Social Work Service, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot, Israel. School of Social Work, Ashkelon Academic College, Israel

Prof. Rachel Lev-Wiesel, The Emili Sagol Creative Arts Therapy Research Center, Graduate School of Creative Arts Therapies, University of Haifa, Israel

Dr. David Israeli, Psychiatric Department, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot, Israel


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