Cross-cultural assessment of child maltreatment: Adapting the Family Background Questionnaire with Ugandan students

Augustine Kalemeera, Marquette University


The objective of this dissertation has been to develop a questionnaire to measure child maltreatment in urban Ugandan postsecondary students reporting retrospectively on their own childhoods. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in 1990, led to an unprecedented public interest in child maltreatment in Uganda. However, there is little research on child maltreatment. This study aims to supplement the very few prior studies of child abuse and neglect in Uganda. The World Health Organization's "World Report on Violence and Health" and the UN Secretary-General's Study on Violence against Children have identified child abuse as "a global problem" with universal and culture-specific features (Runyan et al., 2002; Pinheiro, 2006). Accordingly, this study adapted the maltreatment scales of the US-based Family Background Questionnaire (FBQ; Melchert & Sayger, 1998) to produce a culturally relevant and equivalent Ugandan Version (FBQ-U). First, the adaptation process established the relevancy of the FBQ-U for Ugandan postsecondary students by use of expert Ugandans and pilot study to screen questionnaire items for appropriateness and meaningfulness. The changes suggested by the experts and by the pilot study participants were compiled into the final version, consisting of 96 items including seven items that were specific to the Ugandan version. Second, the adaptation process established construct equivalence and item equivalence by having the final version administered to a convenience sample of 659 postsecondary students in selected postsecondary institutions in Kampala, Uganda. Confirmatory factor analysis was then used to compare data from the Ugandan sample with data from a sample of 384 vocational students in Midwestern United States collected previously. Study results from the unconstrained model suggested there was the same factor structure between the two cross-cultural groups (equal form measurement invariance). However, comparison of the constrained model with the unconstrained model suggested that the two cultural groups had statistically different factor loadings (ΔX 2 = 130.55, df = 30, p < .001). These results suggested that the items were measuring the same constructs, but with inequivalent relationships to these constructs across the two groups.

Recommended Citation

Kalemeera, Augustine, "Cross-cultural assessment of child maltreatment: Adapting the Family Background Questionnaire with Ugandan students" (2007). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3263823.