Objectives: Research focusing on the role played by child abuse/neglect in the onset of psychopathology needs a valid and reliable assessment of childhood experiences and relationships. Although the most widely used self-report measures on child abuse and neglect may show good psychometric properties, they often provide relevant information only on narrow facets of such experiences. Methods: CECA measures (CECA interview and CECA Questionnaires) permit a wider exploration of experiences in infancy, childhood and early adolescence, necessary for clinical assessment and for psychopathology research. A clear definition and operationalization of childhood risk and resilience factors of CECA measures enable an understanding of the impact of different experiences on disorder outcomes. Findings of Italian typical and atypical samples are presented in the form of clinical cases of war refugees, patients with complex childhood trauma and DSM-IVAxis I-Axis II disorders to demonstrate how CECA narratives are a good clinical tool. Quantitative analyses of CECAusing Structural Equation Modelling will also be outlined. Conclusions: CECA measures are valid, reliable, and, most important, useful for research and clinical practice.
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