Sex Roles

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 637-660

First online:

Measuring Sexual Relationship Power in HIV/STD Research

  • Julie PulerwitzAffiliated withHarvard School of Public Health
  • , Steven L. GortmakerAffiliated withHarvard School of Public Health
  • , William DeJongAffiliated withHarvard School of Public Health

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This article introduces a theoretically based and validated measure of relationship power dynamics: the Sexual Relationship Power Scale (SRPS). Focus groups were conducted to generate items for Spanish- and English-language scales. The SRPS was administered to a census of women (N = 388) at a community health clinic. All respondents had a primary male partner; they were mostly Latina (89%), with mean age 27 years. The 23-item SRPS possesses good internal reliability (coefficient alpha = .84 for English version, .88 for Spanish version) and predictive and construct validity. Factor analyses support two subscales: Relationship Control and Decision-Making Dominance. As hypothesized, the SRPS was inversely associated with physical violence and directly associated with education and consistent condom use (p < .05).