Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 37–54 | Cite as

Factor similarity of the Conflict Tactics Scales across samples, spouses, and sites: Issues and implications

  • Julian Barling
  • K. Daniel O'Leary
  • Ernest N. Jouriles
  • Dina Vivian
  • Karyl E. MacEwen


Wide variations in prevalence estimates of marital aggression point to the absence of a uniform and adequate definition of marital aggression. To focus on the construct validity of Straus' (1979) Conflict Tactics Scales, the most frequently used measure of marital aggression, two studies were conducted. Based on responses to the Conflict Tactics Scales, two consistent factors (viz. Physical and Psychological Aggression) emerged in separate samples of 187 couples seeking therapy for marital problems, and 398 nonclinic couples in beginning marriages. The factor structure was consistent across clinic and nonclinic samples, sex, geographical sites, time, and socioeconomic status. Implications for the measurement of interspousal physical aggression are raised (e.g., mild, moderate, and severe aggression load on the same factor) and appropriate directions for further research on the construct validity of the Conflict Tactics Scales are suggested (e.g., conducting similar factor analyses on aggressive couples).

Key words

marital violence spouse abuse assessment factor analysis conflict tactics scale 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian Barling
    • 1
  • K. Daniel O'Leary
    • 2
  • Ernest N. Jouriles
    • 2
  • Dina Vivian
    • 2
  • Karyl E. MacEwen
    • 1
  1. 1.Queen's UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.State University of New York at Stony BrookStony Brook

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