Can questionnaire reports correctly classify relationship distress and partner physical abuse?

Richard Heyman, Shari R. Feldbau-Kohn, Miriam K. Ehrensaft, Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, K. Daniel O'Leary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Relationship adjustment (e.g., Dyadic Adjustment Scale; DAS) and physical aggression (e.g., Conflict Tactics Scale) measures are used both as screening tools and as the sole criterion for classification. This study created face valid diagnostic interviews for relationship distress and physical abuse, through which one could compare preliminarily the classification properties of questionnaire reports. The DAS (and a global measure of relationship satisfaction) had modest agreement with a structured diagnostic interview; both questionnaires tended to overdiagnose distress compared with the interview. Results for partner abuse reiterated the need to go beyond occurrence of aggression as the sole diagnostic criterion, because men's aggression was more likely than women's to rise to the level of "abuse" when diagnostic criteria (injury or substantial fear) were applied. ,.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-346
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)

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