Assessing the physical violence component of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales when used in heterosexual couples: An item response theory analysis

Cad Saude Publica. 2007 Jan;23(1):53-62. doi: 10.1590/s0102-311x2007000100007.


Although there are psychometric evaluations of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2) when applied to heterosexual relationships, none has used item response theory (IRT). To address this gap, the present paper assesses the instrument's physical violence subscale. The CTS2 was applied to 764 women who also responded for their partners. Single dimensionality assumption was corroborated. A 2-parameter logistic IRT model was used for estimating location and discriminating power of each item. Differential item functioning and item information pattern along the violence continuum were assessed. Gender differences were detected in 3 out of 12 items. Item coverage of the latent trait spectrum indicated little information at the lower ends, while plenty in the middle and upper ranges. Still, depending on gender, some item overlaps and regions with gaps could be detected. Despite some unresolved problems, the analysis shows that the items form a theoretically coherent information set across the continuum. Provided the user is aware of possible drawbacks, using the physical violence subscale of the CTS2 in heterosexual couples is still a sensible option.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Battered Women / statistics & numerical data
  • Brazil
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Heterosexuality / psychology
  • Heterosexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Mass Screening* / methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Distribution
  • Spouse Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Translations