Development of an audio-computer assisted self-interview to investigate violence and health in the lives of adults with developmental disabilities

Mary Oschwald, Ph.D., Sandy Leotti, M.S.W., Dora Raymaker, M.S., Marsha Katz, M.S.Ed., Rebecca Goe, M.A., Mark Harviston, B.S., Annie Wallington, Lisa Howard, Leanne Beers, M.S., Christina Nicolaidis, M.D., Susan Robinson-Whelen, Ph.D., Rosemary B. Hughes, Ph.D., Emily Lund, M.A., Laurie E. Powers, Ph.D., the Partnering with People with Disabilities to Address Violence Consortium

jThe Partnering with People with Developmental Disabilities to Address Violence Consortium: Principal Investigator: Rosemary B. Hughes (University of Montana); Co-principal Investigators: Laurie E. Powers (Portland State University), Christina Nicolaidis (Oregon Health & Science University); Project Managers: Marsha Katz (University of Montana), Mary Oschwald (Portland State University); Community Organizational Representatives to the Steering Committee: Darren Larson (Summit Independent Living Center), Eddie Plourde (Oregon Self-Advocacy Coalition, formerly Self Advocates as Leaders), Dora Raymaker (Autistic Self Advocacy Network), Lisa Howard (Bitterroot Valley People First Aktion Club); Community Advisory Board Members: Elesia Ashkenazy, Leanne Beers, Mark Boatman, Gayle Bernice Gardner, Nicole Gray, Leah Grantham, James Larocque, Mary Millin, Sherri Osburn, Janice Salomon, Albert Star, Andrew Tedlow, Annie Wallington; Consultants: Mary Ann Curry, Susan Robinson-Whelen; Research Assistants: Patti Allen, Rebecca Goe, Sandy Leotti, Emily Lund.

Disability and Health Journal, Volume 7, Issue 3
Published Online: January 27, 2014


Audio computer-assisted self-interviews (ACASIs) have safely and effectively obtained sensitive research data from the general public and have been recommended for use with people with disabilities. However, few studies have used ACASIs with people with disabilities and ACASIs have not been used to investigate the relationship between disability, interpersonal violence (IPV), and physical and psychological health among people with developmental disabilities (PWDD).


We developed an accessible ACASI specifically designed to allow PWDD to answer questions independently, while privately and securely collecting anonymous data related to their disability, IPV experiences, and physical and psychological health.


We used a safety protocol to apply community based participatory research (CBPR) principles and an iterative process to create, test, and administer a cross-sectional ACASI survey to 350 adults with developmental disabilities in urban and rural locales.


Most participants completed the ACASI independently and reported that its accessibility features allowed them to do so. Most also agreed that the ACASI was easy to use, its questions were easy to understand, and that they would prefer using an ACASI to answer IPV and health-related questions rather than in a face-to-face interview. The majority agreed that health and safety were critical issues to address.


ACASI technology has the potential to maximize the independent and private participation of PWDD in research on sensitive topics. We recommend further exploration into accessibility options for ACASI technology, including hardware and Internet applications.