Protocol - Victimization Screener

Add to My Toolkit

The General Victimization Scale (GVS) is a 15-item screener answered on a yes/no scale. The first section contains four items that ask about the occurrence of lifetime abusive events: being attacked with a weapon, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Respondents who endorse at least one of the abusive events also complete items in the second section of the scale, composed of seven items covering traumagenic factors. The third section contains four items about current fears of future abuse. All respondents-regardless of whether or not they report any lifetime traumatic events-answer these last four items.

Specific Instructions

While victimization is common and clinically very important, it can be stigmatizing, raise challenges for both the interviewer and respondent, and invoke mandated reporting requirements. Thus, the purpose of collecting this information, protections/safeguards, and any mandated reporting requirements related to collecting this information should be disclosed in the informed consent process prior to collecting this measure.


Limited Availability


Summary of Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN)

The Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) originated in 1993 as a collaborative effort between clinicians, researchers, and policymakers to create a comprehensive and standardized biopsychosocial assessment tool.

The GAIN has developed into a progressive and integrated family of instruments with a series of measures and computer applications designed to support a number of treatment practices, including:

· Initial screenings (GAIN-SS)

· Brief interventions and referrals (GAIN-Q3)

· Standardized clinical assessments for diagnosis, placement, and treatment planning (GAIN-I)

· Monitoring change in clinical status, service utilization, and costs to society (GAIN-M90)

· Subgroup and program-level needs assessment, evaluation, and secondary analysis

The GAIN family of instruments is appropriate for use with both adolescents and adults from a variety of populations in various levels of care, including: outpatient, intensive outpatient, short-term residential, long-term residential, therapeutic community, justice programs, school-based programs, welfare programs, co-occurring disorder programs, and primary health care programs

The Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) instruments can be obtained at https://gaincc.org/instruments/

Personnel and Training Required

Interviewer must be trained and found competent to conduct personal interviews with individuals from the general population. The interviewer should be trained to prompt respondents further if a "don’t know" response is provided.

Equipment Needs


Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Self-administered or interviewer-administered questionnaire


Adolescent, Adult, Senior, Pregnancy


Adolescents and adults aged 12 years or older

Selection Rationale

The General Victimization Scale (GVS) covers important lifetime abusive events. Worries about future victimization are also a key traumatic factor and are a part of the scale (Titus et al., 2003). GVS has had good internal consistency in large samples of adolescents (n = 19,226, alpha = 0.84) and adults (n = 6,913, alpha = 0.86) (GAIN Coordinating Center, 2011). In a comparison of respondents with low victimization rates on GVS to those in the high group, the high group is significantly more likely to present to substance abuse treatment with 5 or more of 12 common diagnoses/problems (15% vs. 71%, OR = 13.9) (Modisette et al., 2010).


English, Other languages available at source

Derived Variables


Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel #3 (ERP 3) reviewed the measures in Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Substances, and Substance Abuse and Addiction domains.

Guidance from ERP 3 includes:

• Changed name of Measure

• Updated protocol

• New Data Dictionary

Back-compatible: Not back-compatible (vastly different than previous protocol which would require a new data dictionary) and not recommended for use (discredited or no longer considered broadly validated)

Protocol Name from Source

Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN), General Victimization Scale (GVS)


Dennis, M. L., Titus, J. C., White, M., Unsicker, J., & Hodgkins, D. (2003). Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN): Administration guide for the GAIN and related measures. Version 5. Bloomington, IL: Chestnut Health Systems.

Titus, J. C., Dennis, M. L., White, W. L., Scott, C. K., & Funk, R. R. (2003). Gender differences in victimization severity and outcomes among adolescents treated for substance abuse. Journal of Child Maltreatment, 8(1), 19-35.

General References

Conrad, K. J., Conrad, K. M., Dennis, M. L., Riley, B. B., & Funk, R. R. (2009). Validation of the HIV Scale to the Rasch Measurement Model, GAIN Methods Report 1.1. Chicago, IL: Chestnut Health Systems.

Dennis, M. L. (2004). Traumatic victimization of adolescents presenting for substance abuse treatment: Time to stop ignoring the elephant in our counseling rooms. Counselor, 5(2), 36-40.

Funk, R. R., McDermeit, M., Godley, S. H., & Adams, L. (2003). Maltreatment issues by level of adolescent substance abuse treatment: The extent of the problem at intake and relationship to early outcomes. Journal of Child Maltreatment, 8(1), 36-45.

GAIN Coordinating Center. (2011). NORMS including alpha, mean, N, sd, ICC for Adolescents (1217), Young Adults (1825), and Adults (18+) by gender race and age using the CSAT 2010 SA Dataset (excluding ATM & CYT) [Electronic version]. Normal, IL: Chestnut Health Systems.

Modisette, K., Ihnes, P., Ives, M., & Dennis, M. (2010). Slides on all Grantees in the 2009 SAMHSA/CSAT Summary Analytic File. Normal, IL: Chestnut Health Systems.

Titus, J. C. (2009). Gender differences in victimization among youths with and without hearing loss admitted to substance abuse treatment. Journal of the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association, 43(1), 7-33.

Titus, J. C. (2010). The nature of victimization among youths with hearing loss in substance abuse treatment. American Annals of the Deaf, 5(1), 19-30.

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX560802000000 Protocol 560802 - proprietary. Check DCW for more
contact. show less
Substance Use-related Co-morbidities and Health-related Outcomes
Measure Name

Victimization Screener

Release Date

November 21, 2016


A screener to gather information on the types of victimization a respondent has experienced in his or her lifetime.


The purpose of this measure is to collect data on the number of types of victimization experienced by a respondent in his or her lifetime (including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse); the number of traumagenic factors involved in the victimization; and the number of types of future victimization feared by the respondent.


Global Appraisal of Individual Needs, GAIN, victimization, physical abuse, sexual abuse, Emotional abuse, SAA, Substance Use-related Co-morbidities and Health-related Outcomes, proprietary

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
560802 Victimization Screener

There are no publications listed for this protocol.