Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 101–107 | Cite as

The Effects of Scale Carving on Instruments Assessing Violence

  • Sujata Desai
  • Keli A. Braitman


Little research has examined the properties of survey instruments when the full instrument is not administered (scale carving). The purpose of the present study was to test scale carving effects on survey instruments. Participants completed carved and whole versions of two instruments measuring violent behaviors and attitudes at two sessions. Findings indicated that administering select subscales rather than the entire instrument affects psychometric properties of certain instruments. For instance, mean scores of certain instruments differed depending upon whether the instruments were administered in their entirety or in carved versions. Reliability coefficients did not differ between carved and whole versions, and correlation coefficients were moderate. Therefore, psychometric properties of carved instruments should be assessed prior to their use in research.


item context measurement reliability scale carving violence against women 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ammerman, R. T., and Hersen, M. (1992). Current issues in the assessment of family violence. In Ammerman, R. T., and Hersen, M. (eds.), Assessment of family violence: A clinical and legal sourcebook (pp. 3–10). Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Barling, J., O’Leary, K. D., Jouriles, E. N., Vivian, D., and MacEwen, K. E., (1987). Factor similarity of the CTS across samples, spouses, and sites. J. Fam. Violence 2: 37–54.Google Scholar
  3. Bruning, J. L., and Kintz, B. L. (1977). Computational handbook of statistics. Scott, Foresman, and Company, Glenview, IL.Google Scholar
  4. Burt, M. R. (1980). Cultural myths and supports for rape. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 38: 217–230.Google Scholar
  5. Buss, A. H., and Perry, M. (1992). The aggression questionnaire. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 63: 452–459.Google Scholar
  6. Cantos, A. L., Neidig, P. H., and O’Leary, K. D. (1994). Injuries of women and men in a treatment program for domestic violence. J. Fam. Violence 9: 113–124.Google Scholar
  7. DeVellis, R. F. (1991). Scale development: Theory and applications. Sage, Newbury Park, CA.Google Scholar
  8. Dillman, D. A. (1978). Mail and telephone surveys: The total design method. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Hamilton, J. C., and Shuminsky, T. R. (1990). Self-awareness mediates the relationship between serial position and item reliability. J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 59: 1301–1307.Google Scholar
  10. Harrison, D. A., and McLaughlin, M. E. (1993). Cognitive processes in self-report responses: Tests of item context effects in work attitude measures. J. Appl. Psychol. 78: 129–140.Google Scholar
  11. Harrison, D. A., McLaughlin, M. E., and Coalter, T. M. (1996). Context, cognition, and common method variance: Psychometric and verbal protocol evidence. Organ. Behav. Hum. Deci. Process. 68: 246–261.Google Scholar
  12. Jackson, D. N. (1970). A sequential system for personality scale development. In Spielberger, C. D. (Ed.), Current topics in clinical and community psychology, (Vol. II) Academic Press, New York, pp. 61–96.Google Scholar
  13. Knowles, E. S. (1988). Item context effects on personality scales: Measuring changes the measure. J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 55: 312–320.Google Scholar
  14. Loevinger, J. (1957). Objective tests as instruments of psychological theory. Psychological Reports 3: Monograph Supplement 9.Google Scholar
  15. MacKay, N. J., and Covell, K. (1997). The impact of women in advertisements on attitudes toward women. Sex Roles 36: 573–583.Google Scholar
  16. Newmark, L., Harrell, A., and Salem, P. (1995). Domestic violence and empowerment in custody and visitation cases. Fam. Conciliation Courts Rev. 33: 30–62.Google Scholar
  17. Rodenburg, F. A., and Fantuzzo, J. W. (1993). The measure of wife abuse: Steps toward the development of a comprehensive assessment technique. J. Fam. Violence 8: 203–228.Google Scholar
  18. Rosenthal, R. (1984). Meta-analytic procedures for social research. Sage, Beverly Hills, CA.Google Scholar
  19. Schwarz, N. (1999). Self-reports: How the questions shape the answers. Am. Psychol. 54: 93–105.Google Scholar
  20. Shepard, M. F., and Campbell, J. A. (1992). The abusive behavior inventory: A measure of psychological and physical abuse. J. Interpers. Violence 7: 291–305.Google Scholar
  21. St. Lawrence, J. S., and Joyner, D. J. (1991). The effects of sexually violent rock music on males’ acceptance of violence against women. Psychol. Women Q. 15: 49–63.Google Scholar
  22. Steinberg, L. (1994). Context and serial-order effects in personality measurement: Limits on the generality of measuring changes the measure. Journal of Personal. Soc. Psychol. 66: 341–349.Google Scholar
  23. Straus, M. A. (1979). Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The Conflict Tactics (CT) Scales. J. Marriage Fam. 12: 75–88.Google Scholar
  24. Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Boney-McCoy, S., and Sugarman, D. B. (1996). Therevised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2). J. Fam. Issues 17: 283–316.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondale
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyBoise State UniversityBoise
  3. 3.Texas Health and Human Services CommissionAustin

Personalised recommendations