Controlling and abusive tactics: preliminary findings of a gender-inclusive questionnaire
Research has consistently found that partner violence), defined as physical abuse between married, cohabitating or dating partners, is not the only type of abuse with long-term, deleterious effects on victims. Male and female victims alike report that psychological or emotional abuse, along with controlling behaviors, are often as or more traumatic; and recent research has found high correlations between received non-physical types of abuse and symptoms such as depression and anxiety. With some exceptions, existing instruments used to measure emotional abuse and control have generally been limited to male-perpetrated behaviors, as conceived in the well-known Duluth “Power and Control” wheel. The present study discusses the genesis and evolution of a gender-inclusive instrument, the Controlling and Abusive Tactics Questionnaire (CAT), which was field tested on males and females with both a clinical and general population sample, and subjected to both an exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. For perpetration, a preliminary comparison across gender found no significant differences across gender for the great majority of items, with women reporting significantly higher rates on 9 items, and men reporting significantly higher rates on 6 items. Women reported higher rates of received abuse than men on 28 of 30 items in which gender differences were found to be significant, but both males and females reported higher victimization than perpetration rates on all items. Separate versions of the CAT were created, one for males and one for females, appropriate for use among treatment providers as well as for research purposes.