Adapting the Sexual Relationship Power Scale for HIV/AIDS Research in Malawi

Amy A. Conroy, University of Colorado at Denver

In sub-Saharan Africa, gender inequality and power imbalances continue to place individuals at increased risk for HIV/AIDS. Prevention programs in Malawi are starting to incorporate relationship power into couple-based interventions; however, no local measure of power exists to evaluate intervention effectiveness. This study developed a new measure of sexual relationship power for Malawi by building upon the Sexual Relationship Power Scale (SRPS) developed by Pulerwitz and colleagues (2000). Semi-structured interviews (n=34) were conducted separately, but simultaneously, with married and dating couples in order to understand the social context of relationship power. Qualitative data were analyzed to create a preliminary pool of scale items, which were then pilot tested using a convenience sample of 254 individuals. Factor analysis supported four sub-scales: autonomy, communication, love and trust, and relationship dominance. Moderate internal consistency and construct validity were demonstrated. The sexual relationship power scale shows promising utility for future HIV/AIDS research in Malawi.

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Presented in Session 173: Power and Coercion in Sexual Behavior