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Table 3 Item appraisal among young women who participated in the cognitive interviews and recommendations for adaptations for the use of the SRPS among South African young women (n = 21)

From: “I feel like it is asking if he is a stalker … but I also feel like it is asking if he cares”: exploring young South African women and men’s perceptions of the Sexual Relationship Power Scale

SRPS Scale Item Response breakdown Cognitive Process Coding Question Feature Coding Recommendations for adaptation
  Comprehension Response Process Judgements related to items Clarity of items (wording, vague) Logical problems in assumptions (inappropriate assumptions, double-barreled questions)  
1. My partner is quite comfortable when I greet men I know 70% Strongly agreed/Agreed
30% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
     Item assumes heterosexuality and that it would be only an issue if participant was greeting men on the street Revise wording in order to be more gender neutral so as to allow for the inclusion of gender diverse individuals and participants in non-heterosexual relationships
2. My partner expects me to be at home when he comes to check on me 50% Strongly agreed/Agreed
50% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
At times was interpreted as if the participant and her partner made plans first    Unclear whether to interpret item based on whether participants made plans, called in advance, or if their partner was just showing up unannounced   Clarify whether plans have been made in advance, or consider revising to be more contemporary understanding that young people are more connected (e.g., telephonically and virtually) than when the scale was originally developed
3. My partner becomes jealous when I wear things that make me look too beautiful 50% Strongly agreed/Agreed
50% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
  Participants at times responded ‘sometimes’ to this item The term beautiful was left up for interpretation This item was also a bit unclear what “too beautiful” meant Often interpreted both as beauty in whichever way the participant interpreted beauty to mean, but also interpreted as wearing revealing clothing Revise item so that there is less ambiguity to what the item is asking. Could be revised to ask about whether partner ever gets jealous when you dress in certain clothing
4. My partner has more to say than I do about important decisions that affect us 35% Strongly agreed/Agreed
65% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
  Participants at times indicated “it depends” and wanted an option to acknowledge equal decision-making     The response options for this item could be revised so that they can reflect and allow participants to distinguish between partner having more control, them having more control, or having equal control
5. My partner never tells me who I can spend time with 90% Strongly agreed/Agreed
10% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
At times the word never was not considered in the participants’ responses   Some participants spoke of how they felt the item was not applicable to them as they chose not to have friends    Negatively worded items should be removed as they tend to confuse participants
6. I could leave our relationship any time I wanted to 80% Strongly agreed/Agreed
20% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
Among the minority of women who responded disagree or strongly disagree a couple stated they wouldn’t leave because they love their partner or that they couldn’t because they’ve tried (to break up) and it hasn’t worked      Future scales may want to consider adding items related to love and building healthy relationships
7. My partner does what he wants, even if I don’t want him to 35% Strongly agreed/Agreed
65% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
   Participants thought this item could have been worded in a simpler manner   Potentially two interpretations about one’s partner going out and doing things you don’t want as well as doing things to you (e.g., sexually) that are unwanted Revising item so that it is more specific
Consider adding item that more specifically addresses unwanted sexual advances/sexual violence
8. When my partner and I disagree, he gets his way most of the time 25% Strongly agreed/Agreed
75% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
  Some participants wanted to respond “it depends” and often highlighted how they both get their way     Some items could potentially have different response options that allow for a wider range in responses. For example, having response options of Always, frequently, sometimes, rarely, and never
9. My partner always wants to know where I am 65% Strongly agreed/Agreed
35% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
Item was often interpreted as a sign of caring and that this was quite common and desired in the context of high rates of violence against women in South Africa     Measuring both the level of care partner has for safety and heightened surveillance of whereabouts Revising item to be more specific in order to capture an unhealthy level of surveillance versus general concern for safety or create two distinct items
10. My partner expects me to do everything for him 21% Strongly agreed/Agreed
79% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
   Item judged as being for married people “Everything” was vague and many young women asked what was meant by this   Revise item to be more specific. Consider modifying item so that it reflects the common ways in which young women and men in South Africa have relationships
11. Because my partner buys me things, he expects me to please him 5% Strongly agreed/Agreed
95% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
    Lack of clarity in what was meant by “please him”   Revise item to be more specific
Given the lack of agreement to this item, future scales may want to revise this item so it is not interpreted as participating in transactional sex or sex work
12. My partner lets me know that I am not his only girlfriend 15% Strongly agreed/Agreed
85% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
This item was often interpreted as ‘does your partner cheat on you’ and participants spoke of finding out their partner cheated through seeing messages on his phone     This item assumes monogamy, and some participants talked about being in an open relationship Consider removing or modifying in order to ensure the item is more understandable and inclusive of different types of relationships
13. My partner expects me to sleep over whenever he chooses 30% Strongly agreed/Agreed
70% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
     Item assumes that participants have started sleeping together and are able to have sleep overs Consider adding some clarity regarding whether participants are able to have sleep overs