Balance of Power

Balance of Power is a 7-item measure of an individual's perception of the balance of power and equitable attitudes within a relationship. Based on the Sexual and Reproductive Power Scale found here, this measure includes aspects such as decision making power and couple communication.


Geographies Tested: Ethiopia,Kenya

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adults


1. My partner has more say than I do about important decisions that affect us.
2. I am more committed to this relationship than my partner is.
3. A woman should be able to talk openly about sex with her husband.*
4. My partner dictates who I spend time with.
5. When my partner and I disagree, shehe gets herhis way most of the time.
6. I feel comfortable discussing family planning with my partner.*
7. I feel comfortable discussing HIV with my partner.*

Response Options:
Yes - 0
No - 1

*Items are reverse scored

Scoring Procedures

Item scores are summed. Higher total scores reflect a more equal balance of power perceived by the respondent and lower scores reflecting a less equal balance of power. The scores do not indicate a finite amount of power perceived by each individual.

Original Citation

Stephenson, R., Bartel, D., & Rubardt, M. (2012). Constructs of power and equity and their association with contraceptive use among men and women in rural Ethiopia and Kenya. Global Public Health, 7(6), 618-634.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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