Original research article| Volume 95, ISSUE 3, P292-298, March 2017

Psychometric properties and refinement of the Reproductive Coercion Scale



      Identification and refinement of psychometric properties of the Reproductive Coercion Scale (RCS) for use in survey research and clinical practice.

      Study design

      Young women aged 16–29 years seeking services in 24 Pennsylvania and 5 California family planning clinics completed questionnaires. Data were pooled for analysis (n=4674), and underlying domains were assessed using Horn's Parallel Analysis and Exploratory Factor Analysis. Multidimensional Item Response Theory was used to refine the scale and assess reliability and validity of a short-form RCS.


      The full, nine-item RCS had two underlying domains: pregnancy coercion and condom manipulation. Five items were retained in the short form: three about pregnancy coercion (e.g., “told you not to use birth control…”) and two for condom manipulation (e.g., “taken off the condom while you were having sex…”; one of these items is the combination of two original items on damaging the condom that were combined because of similar statistical properties and face validity and a third item on removing the condom was retained on its own). Recent reproductive coercion was reported by 6.7% and 6.3% of the sample with the full and short-form RCS, respectively. Characteristics of women reporting reproductive coercion were similar with both forms.


      Findings indicate that reproductive coercion includes pregnancy coercion and deliberate manipulation of condoms to promote pregnancy. Moreover, women experience reproductive coercion across a continuum of severity. We selected items that varied in RC severity and discrimination to generate a five-item short-form RCS for survey research and clinical practice.


      This study assesses the psychometric properties of the RCS, identifying pregnancy coercion and condom manipulation as underlying domains of reproductive coercion. Recommendations for using the RCS in research and clinical practice are discussed.


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