Scale of Economic Abuse (SEA)

The Scale of Economic Abuse (SEA) is a 28-item measure of individual experience of economic abuse, separated into two domains: Economic Control and Economic Exploitation. Different aspects of economic abuse captured by the scale include being prevented from working or having one's money used unwillingly by an intimate partner.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


Directions: I'm going to go through a list of things some men do to hurt their partner or ex-partner financially. Could you tell me, to the best of your recollection, how frequently your partner or ex-partner has done any of the following things since your relationship began?

Subscale: Economic Control
1. Steal the car keys or take the car so you couldn't go look for a job or go to a job interview.
2. Do things to keep you from going to your job.
3. Beat you up if you said you needed to go to work.
4. Threaten you to make you leave work.
5. Demand that you quit your job.
6. Do things to keep you from having money of your own.
7. Take your paycheck, financial aid check, tax refund check, disability payment, or other support payments from you.
8. Decide how you could spend money rather than letting you spend it how you saw fit.
9. Demand to know how money was spent.
10. Demand that you give him receipts andor change when you spent money.
11. Keep you from having the money you needed to buy food, clothes, or other necessities.
12. Hide money so that you could not find it.
13. Keep you from having access to your bank accounts.
14. Keep financial information from you.
15. Make important financial decisions without talking with you about it first. 16. Make you ask him for money.
17. Threaten you or beat you up for paying the bills or buying things that were needed.

Subscale: Economic Exploitation
18. Take money from your purse, wallet, or bank account without your permission andor knowledge.
19. Force you to give him money or let him use your checkbook, ATM card, or credit card. Steal your property.
20. Steal your property.
21. Pay bills late or not pay bills that were in your name or in both of your names.
22. Build up debt under your name by doing things like use your credit card or run up the phone bill.
23. Refuse to get a job so you had to support your family alone.
24. Gamble with your money or your shared money.
25. Have you ask your family or friends for money but not let you pay them back.
26. Convince you to lend him money but not pay it back.
27. Pawn your property or your shared property.
28. Spend the money you needed for rent or other bills.

Response Options:
Never - 1
Hardly ever - 2
Sometimes - 3
Often - 4
Quite often - 5
Not applicable - 8
Prefer not to answer - 9

Scoring Procedures

Item scores are averaged to create subscale and total scale scores, ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (quite often). Items with a response of 8 (not applicable) are either removed from scale calculation or given the value of 1 (the respondent never has experienced this type of economic abuse or perpetrator has never used this tactic).

Original Citation

Adams, A. E., Sullivan, C. M., Bybee, D., & Greeson, M. R. (2008). Development of the Scale of Economic Abuse. Violence Against Women, 14(5), 563-588. doi: 10.1177/1077801208315529

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Qualitative Research

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Field Expert Input

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