Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family

By Murray A. Straus; Richard J. Gelles et al. | Go to book overview

APPENDIX C
Indexes Used to Measure Conflict, Power, and Stress

MARITAL CONFLICT

There are an almost infinite number of things which can be the basis of husband-wife conflict. They range from putting the cap on the toothpaste to how to deal with a delinquent child. Within the context of the need to gather information on many variables in a one-hour interview, we could not even attempt to list and gather data on all of these possible conflicts. If we used open-ended questions and simply asked what conflicts occurred in the last year, some respondents would focus on one or two issues and not mention others which were also sources of conflict during the year. Therefore, as a matter of practical necessity and to assure having the same information on all the couples in the sample we adopted the strategy of asking everyone about five issues which, in our opinion, are frequent sources of conflict. The specific question was:

I am going to read a list of things that couples do not always agree on. For each of them, please tell me how often you and your (husband/wife/partner) agreed during the past year. First, take managing the money. Did you and your (husband/wife/ partner) always agree, almost always agree, usually agree, sometimes agree, or never agree about managing the money?

ALWAYS ALMOST
ALWAYS
USUALLY SOME-
TIMES
NEVER
a. Managing the money 1 2 3 4 5
b. Cooking, cleaning, or 1 2 3 4 5
repairing the house

-267-

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