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A Representative Measure of Psychological Aggression and Its Severity

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Surveys of psychological aggression have been plagued by a variety of conceptual and measurement problems. A new measure was devised to more systematically cover a full range of psychologically aggressive actions; to include items for each dimension/category at a milder, moderate, and severe level; to be applicable to dating as well as marital relationships; and to utilize items that were broader in nature to capture all instances of particular types of psychological aggression. Three hundred and eighty-three college students rated the 51 items as to their degree of "psychological abusiveness." The 17 categories were rated as mostly distinct from each other; almost every category had statistically distinct mild, moderate and severe items; the overall scale yielded basically normal psychometric properties; and the total score, as well as the scores for the mild, moderate, and severe items, all had very high internal consistency. Ratings of these items appear to be distinct from social desirability as well as from a number of attitudinal response sets, and only sex of the participant was significantly, although weakly, correlated with overall ratings of the psychological aggression items. This measure may provide for more systematic investigation into the concept of psychological aggression.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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