Conflict Tactics Scale

The Conflict Tactics Scale was developed by Murrary Straus to measure strategies for handling conflict within the family (Straus 1979). This scale is widely used in research regarding family conflict. There have been many different versions of the CTS used in various studies.


The Conflict Tactics Scale measure consists of 80 items developed by Straus (1979) to explore intrafamily conflict and violence, focusing particularly on the adults in the family. Of these 80 items, 20 are administered to the parent about his/her relationship with the child. The next 20 questions are directed to the parent about the partner and his/her interactions with the child. If there is no partner, these questions are not asked. The last 40 questions of the measure address the interactions between the parent and the parent's partner using the same questions. The measure assesses how the parent reacts in a conflict with the child, such as trying to discuss an issue calmly, yelling at or insulting the child, stomping out of the room or house, threatening to spank the child, and hitting or trying to hit the child. The items gradually become more coercive and aggressive as they progress. The items are rated on a seven-point scale, ranging from 0=never to 6=almost every day.

This instrument has four scales: Parent-Child (Scale 1), Partner-Child (Scale 2), Parent-Partner (Scale 3), and Partner-Parent (Scale 4). The parent-child and partner-child conflict scales each have five subscales and the two parent-partner scales have four subscales each. The five subscales (Strassberg, Dodge, Bates, and Pettit, 1992; Strassberg, Dodge, Pettit, and Bates, 1994) are: verbal discussion, verbal aggression, hostile-indirect withdrawal, physical aggression, and spanking. The parent-partner and partner-parent scales do not include the spanking subscale. Subscale scores are created by taking the mean for each set of variables for a given subscale by observation and then by finding the subscale means across all observations.

Analysts should be aware of possible distributional issues; subscales for physical aggression and hostile-indirect withdrawal were highly skewed in a positive direction. Two other subscales were also skewed: verbal aggression and spanking. The verbal discussion subscale was almost normally distributed.

Dataset Names

Raw Dataset Name: PyE
Scored Dataset Name: CFTySPc


Parental Communication, Physical Abuse, Parent Attitudes, Child Discipline, Punishment, Emotional Abuse, Family Relations.