Abusive Behavior Inventory

The Abusive Behavior Inventory is a 30-item instrument measuring the frequency of physical and psychological abuse of women, perpetrated by their partners. Features captured by the physical abuse items are classifed as assaultive behaviors, including force. The psychological abuse items are separated into 7 subcategories: emotional abuse (humiliation or degradation), isolation (restriction of social contact), intimidation (frighten with actions or gestures), threats (of harm to self or others), use of male privilege (compliance demanded based on belief of male entitlement), and economic abuse (restriction of financial resources).


Circle a number of each of the items listed below to show your closest estimate of how often it happened in your relationship with your partner or former partner during the six months prior (the time frame for reporting abuse can be modified to fit the needs of research setting).

  1. Called you name and/or criticized you
  2. Tried to keep you from doing something you wanted to do (example: going out with friends, going to meetings)
  3. Gave you angry stares or looks
  4. Prevented you from having money for your own use
  5. Ended a discussion with you and made the decision himself
  6. Threatened to hit or throw something at you
  7. Pushed, grabbed, or shoved you
  8. Put down your family and friends
  9. Accused you of paying too much attention to someone or something else
  10. Put you on an allowance
  11. Used your children to threaten you (example: told you that you would lose custody, said he would leave town with the children)
  12. Became very upset with you because dinner, housework, or laundry was not ready when he wanted it or done the way it should be
  13. Said things to scare you (examples: told you something “bad” would happen, threatened to commit suicide)
  14. Slapped, hit, or punched you
  15. Made you do something humiliating or degrading (example: begging for forgiveness, having to ask his permission to use the car or do something)
  16. Checked up on you (examples: listened to your phone calls, checked the mileage on your car, called you repeatedly at work)
  17. Drove recklessly when you were in the car
  18. Pressured you to have sex in a way that you didn’t like or want
  19. Refused to do housework or childcare
  20. Threatened you with a knife, gun, or other weapon
  21. Spanked you
  22. Told you that you were a bad parent
  23. Stopped you or tried to stop you from going to work or school
  24. Threw, hit, kicked, or smashed something
  25. Kicked you
  26. Physically forced you to have sex
  27. Threw you around
  28. Physically attacked the sexual parts of your body
  29. Choked or strangled you
  30. Used a knife, gun, or other weapon against you

Response Options:
Never - 1
Rarely - 2
Occasionally - 3
Frequently - 4
Very Frequently - 5



United States of America




Scoring Procedures:

Not Available


Shepard, M. F., & Campbell, J. A. (1992). The Abusive Behavior Inventory: A measure of psychological and physical abuse. Journal of interpersonal violence, 7(3), 291-305.

Pyschometric Score:


 Qualitative Research

 Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

 Field Expert Input

 Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








 Criterion (gold-standard)


Psychometric Scoring

Total Score: 5.00/8 Points (MEDIUM) 

Citation Frequency




For more details, see Scoring Methodology

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