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Development and Validation of the Power Imbalance in Couples Scale

  • Torsten B. Neilands
  • Shari L. Dworkin
  • Deepalika Chakravarty
  • Chadwick K. Campbell
  • Patrick A. Wilson
  • Anu Manchikanti Gomez
  • Kirk K. Grisham
  • Colleen C. Hoff
Original Paper

Abstract

Few researchers have quantitatively explored the relationship power-HIV risk nexus in same-sex male couples. We developed and validated the Power Imbalance in Couples Scale (PICS) to measure relationship power among men in same-sex, committed relationships and its association with sexual risk behaviors. We recruited three independent and diverse samples of male couples in the greater San Francisco and New York City metropolitan areas and conducted qualitative interviews (N1 = 96) to inform item development, followed by two quantitative surveys (N2 = 341; N3 = 434) to assess the construct, predictive, convergent, and discriminant validity of the PICS. Exploratory factor analysis of the first survey’s data yielded four factors—overtly controlling partner, supportive partner, conflict avoidant actor, and overtly controlling actor—that accounted for more than 50% of the shared variance among the PICS items. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of the second survey’s data supported these four factors: χ2(1823) = 2493.40, p < .001; CFI = .96, RMSEA = .03 and WRMR = 1.33. Strong interfactor correlations suggested the presence of a higher-order general perception of power imbalance factor; a higher-order factor CFA model was comparable in fit to the correlated lower-order factors’ CFA: χ2(2) = 2.00, p = .37. Internal reliability of the PICS scale was strong: α = .94. Men perceiving greater power imbalances in their relationships had higher odds of engaging in condomless anal intercourse with outside partners of discordant or unknown HIV status (OR 1.27; 95% CI 1.01–1.60; p = .04). The PICS is an important contribution to measuring relationship power imbalance and its sequelae among male couples; it is applicable to research on relationships, sexuality, couples, and HIV prevention.

Keywords

Gay male couples Relationship power Sexual risk behavior HIV Sexual orientation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Torsten B. Neilands
    • 1
  • Shari L. Dworkin
    • 1
    • 3
    • 6
  • Deepalika Chakravarty
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chadwick K. Campbell
    • 1
    • 3
  • Patrick A. Wilson
    • 4
  • Anu Manchikanti Gomez
    • 5
  • Kirk K. Grisham
    • 4
  • Colleen C. Hoff
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for AIDS Prevention StudiesUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Center for Research and Education on Gender and SexualitySan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Social and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Sexual Health and Reproductive Equity Program, School of Social WelfareUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  6. 6.School of Nursing and Health StudiesUniversity of WashingtonBothellUSA

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