Factor Structure of the Communication Patterns Questionnaire in Violence-Exposed Women


Understanding and addressing violence among intimate partners requires sound assessment of their communication patterns. In prior research, the 35-item, self-report Communication Patterns Questionnaire (CPQ) has been used to assess communication patterns in violent relationships. To date, psychometric analysis of the CPQ has been examined only among nonviolent couples; no studies have examined the psychometric properties of this measure in a sample of survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). Using confirmatory factor analysis, the present study evaluated the factor structure of the CPQ in a sample of women survivors of IPV who sought mental health assessments at a university research clinic. Analyses suggested that a modified three-factor solution (constructive communication [CC], self-demand/partner withdraw [SDPW], partner demand/self-withdraw [PDSW]) provided good fit in our sample. Internal consistency estimates for each of the modified scales were acceptable and exceeded reported coefficients in prior IPV studies. Significant bivariate correlations among modified scales, and between communication patterns and aggressive behaviors, provided initial validity evidence for the CPQ scales in our sample. We found CC to be negatively associated with partner psychological aggression, PDSW to be positively associated with all forms of partner aggression and respondent psychological aggression, and SDPW to be positively associated with respondent physical and psychological aggression. The results of this study indicate that the CPQ may be an appropriate measure for assessing communication patterns in violent relationships; however, modified scoring procedures should be used. We contextualize our results within existing models of IPV and address clinical, cultural, and contextual issues in communication patterns assessment.

Publication Title

Journal of Interpersonal Violence