Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2)

Assessment Rating:
A
A – Psychometrics Well-Demonstrated
See entire scale
Developer(s):

Murray A. Straus, PhD, Sherry L. Hamby, PhD, Sue Boney-Mccoy, PhD, David B. Sugarman, PhD, David Finkelhor, PhD, David W. Moore, PhD, And Desmond K. Runyan, MD

Description / Purpose:

The CTS2 evaluates violence within intimate relationships. The CTS2 includes 78 items, half referring to the respondent’s behavior and half to the partner’s behavior. Using an 8-point scale, the respondent simply indicates how often each behavior has occurred. This produces “Self” and “Partner” scores for the following dimensions: 

  • Negotiation
  • Psychological Aggression
  • Physical Assault
  • Sexual Coercion
  • Injury

Target Population: Adults

Time to Administer: 10 minutes

Completed By: self-report or interview

Modalities Available: pen and paper

Scoring Information: Hand scored. The test form includes space to record scores from an appropriate comparison sample selected from the Handbook.    

Languages Available: English

Training Requirements for Intended Users: A master’s degree (MA, MS, MSW, CAGS) in psychology, school counseling, occupational therapy, speech–language pathology, socialwork, education, special education, or related field  OR A bachelor’s degree (BA, BS) in fields listed above with a License or certification from an agency/organization that requires training and experience in assessment

Availability: The CTS2 kit is available from the publisher for a fee at https://www.wpspublish.com/cts-conflict-tactics-scales 

Contact Information

Company: WPS
Website: www.wpspublish.com/cts-conflict-tactics-scales
Phone: (800) 648-8857
Fax: (424) 201-8800

Summary of Relevant Psychometric Research

This tool has received the Measurement Tools Rating of "A – Psychometrics Well-Demonstrated" based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The tool must have 2 or more published, peer-reviewed studies that have established the measure’s psychometrics (e.g., reliability and validity, sensitivity and specificity, etc.). Please see the Measurement Tools Rating Scale for more information.

Show relevant research...

Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Boney-McCoy, S., & Sugarman, D. B. (1996). The revised conflict tactics scales (CTS2) development and preliminary psychometric data. Journal of family issues, 17(3), 283-316.

Sample:

Participants — 317 college students

Race/Ethnicity — Not Specified

Summary:

This article describes the revised Conflict Tactics Scales (the CTS2) to measure psychological and physical attacks on a partner in a marital, cohabiting, or dating relationship; and also use of negotiation. The CTS2 has (a) additional items to enhance content validity and reliability; (b) revised wording to increase clarity and specificity; (c) better differentiation between minor and severe levels of each scale; (d) new scales to measure sexual coercion and physical injury; and (e) a new format to simplify administration and reduce response sets. Reliability ranges from .79 to .95. There is preliminary evidence of construct validity.

Straus, M. A. (2004). Cross-cultural reliability and validity of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales: A study of university student dating couples in 17 nations. Cross-Cultural Research, 38(4), 407-432.

Sample:

Participants — 7,179 students at 33 universities in 17 countries

Race/Ethnicity — Not Specified

Summary:

This study reports the reliability and examples of validity evidence for the CTS2 (physical assault, physical injury, psychological aggression, sexual coercion, and negotiation) to measure these aspects of the dating relationships of students. The results show high alpha coefficients of internal consistency and low confounding with social desirability response set. Examples indicating the construct validity of the CTS2 Physical Assault and Injury Scales are also presented.

Vega, E. M., & O’Leary, K. D. (2007). Test–retest reliability of the revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2). Journal of Family Violence, 22(8), 703-708.

Sample:

Participants — 82 men court-mandated to a batterer intervention program

Race/Ethnicity — 57% Caucasian, 22% African or Caribbean-American descent, 16% Latin American, and 5% Other ethnic backgrounds

Summary:

This study examines the stability of reports of aggression against a partner on theCTS2 among 82 men court-mandated to a batterer intervention program. At both testing times men reported on aggression occurring in the year prior to beginning treatment. Using variety scores, stability of report was strong for psychological aggression (r=0.69), physical assault (r=0.76), injury (r=0.70), and negotiation (r=0.60), but weaker for sexual coercion (r=0.30). 

Jones, R. T., Browne, K., & Chou, S. (2017). A critique of the revised Conflict Tactics Scales-2 (CTS-2). Aggression and violent behavior, 37, 83-90.

Sample:

Participants — Not applicable – review article

Race/Ethnicity — Not applicable – review article

Summary:

The purpose of this review is to critically evaluate the Conflict Tactics Scales-2, a measure used worldwide for research and clinical practices. The reliability, validity and normative samples of the CTS-2 are considered and compared with similar psychometric measures. The limitations of the original CTS have been discussed alongside the CTS-2. Reliability is considered to be good to excellent by alpha coefficient and the variance explained by differing samples or methods of administration. Caution is recommended when interpreting the CTS-2 in clinical settings. Researchers point toward a five-factor structure to the CTS-2. The importance of appropriate norms is discussed and considered crucial when using the tool in settings where reporting patterns may differ. Difficulties in comparing CTS-2 scores across samples, cultures and countries are highlighted. Overall, the CTS-2 is a robust psychometric measure, although it holds limited clinical utility if it is used separately from other sources of information gathering (i.e. psychometric measures or interview). In order to enhance clinical utility, it should be administered alongside measures or clinical interviews that can provide added context regarding violence in the family. More research is required in diverse population samples, cultures/countries and languages.

Chapman, H., & Gillespie, S. M. (2019). The Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2): a review of the properties, reliability, and validity of the CTS2 as a measure of partner abuse in community and clinical samples. Aggression and violent behavior, 44, 27-35.

Sample:

Participants — Not applicable – review article

Race/Ethnicity — Not applicable – review article

Summary:

The purpose of this review is to explore the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2), focusing on its research uses for assessing Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). An overview of the CTS2 is presented, including the area that it assesses, the purpose of the tool, and its content. The tool's attempts to measure the purported construct are evaluated, drawing upon principles of reliability, validity and appropriate norms. The CTS2 has been found to be a reliable and valid instrument to measure IPV across different populations and across different cultures. However, there are some concerns regarding the internal consistency of the sexual coercion scale among female samples, and explorations of the factor structure of the CTS2 have yielded inconsistent models. While some statistical properties of the scale have been established for different populations, more research is needed to ascertain the validity and reliability of the CTS2 in varied clinical and forensic settings.

Date Reviewed: July 2020 (Originally reviewed in July 2020)