Measuring Emotional Abuse in Dating Relationships as a Multifactorial Construct

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Abstract

Initial investigations of a multifactorial approach to the measurement of emotional abuse in dating relationships are presented. A set of 54 items was generated to assess 4 rationally derived subscales measuring Restrictive Engulfment, Hostile Withdrawal, Denigration, and Dominance / Intimidation. An exploratory factor analysis on reports of partner behavior by 157 female undergraduate students in dating relationships provided support for the hypothesized subscales. Denigration and Dominance/Intimidation had consistently higher correlations with physical aggression than did the other two forms of emotional abuse. Further evidence for discriminant and convergent validity was apparent in correlations with the circumplex scales of the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems, and with self-reported attachment variables. The results support the assessment of emotional abuse in dating relationships as a multifactorial construct.

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