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Table 4 Item appraisal among young men who participated in the cognitive interviews and recommendations for adaptations for the use of the SRPS among South African young men (n = 17)

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

  Response breakdown Cognitive Process Coding Question Feature Coding Recommendations for adaptations
SRPS Scale Item   Comprehension Response Process Judgements related to items Clarity of items (wording, vague) Logical problems in assumptions (inappropriate assumptions, double-barreled questions)  
1. I am quite comfortable when my partner greets men, she knows 81% Strongly agreed/Agreed
19% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
   Participants expressed being comfortable with partner greeting men as long as she is not flirting Lacking clarity in what “greets” was referring to.
Not specific enough about which men she is greeting (e.g., friends/family vs. strangers)
Item assumes heterosexuality and that it would be only an issue if participant’s partner was greeting men on the street Include more specific language so as to avoid confusion
2. I like my partner to be at home when I come to check her, it bothers me if she is not there 69% Strongly agreed/Agreed
31% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
Often item was interpreted as participants had already made plans in advance At times participants responded “it depends” to this question   Young men often assumed this was in the context of them having had made plans with their partner and feeling that they would be upset based on wasting time, thus more context was needed   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, virtually) than when the scale was originally developed
3. I become jealous when my partner wears things that make her look too beautiful 31% Strongly agreed/Agreed
69% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
Some young men were unable to comprehend how someone could get jealous if their partner looked beautiful Some participants responded “somewhat agree”    Young men sometimes felt that the item was asking both about beauty and how this beauty represented them, which they appreciated but also that wearing revealing clothes was different and would make them jealous Include more specific language so as to avoid confusion. For example specify whether participant is jealous of partner wearing revealing clothes versus the broad concept of beauty
4. I have more to say than my partner does about important decisions that affect us 60% Strongly agreed/Agreed
40% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
  Some participants responded
“No, she has more.”
“I do”
    Responses for this item should consider whether it would be better to understand who in the relationship makes most of the decisions and then providing response options of you, your partner, or both equally
5. I never tell my partner who she can see or spend time with 69% Strongly agreed/Agreed
31% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
“Never” was often overlooked in the comprehension of this item      Avoid using negatively worded items that create complicated double negative cognitive processes
6. It might make me sad but my partner is free to leave our relationship any time she wants to 79% Strongly agreed/Agreed
21% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
Interpretation was often based on young men’s desire to not breakup more than forcing partner to stay in relationship Some participants responded they weren’t sure not because they wanted to force their partner to stay in the relationship but because they have tried to breakup and it hasn’t worked     Make item more specific to ensure the scale is capturing control and being forced to stay
Future scales may want to consider adding items related to love and building healthy relationships
7. I like to do what I want, even if my partner doesn’t want me to 31% Strongly agreed/Agreed
69% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
8. When my partner and I disagree, I get my way most of the time 31% Strongly agreed/Agreed
69% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
  Participants often wanted to answer items with yes or no     
9. I like to know where my partner is most of the time 87% Strongly agreed/Agreed
13% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
This item was often interpreted as showing care in the context of high rates of violence against women     Both about safety and making sure partner wasn’t with other men Revising item to be more specific in order to capture an unhealthy level of surveillance versus general concern for safety
10. I expect my partner to do things for me like my ironing and cooking 62% Strongly agreed/Agreed
38% Strongly Disagreed/Disagreed
  Participants often wanted to answer items with yes or no This item was often stated by participants as not applicable because the participant was not married or hadn’t paid lobolo    Specifying whether asking about current situation in young men’s relationship or expectations in the future if they get married/paid lobolo
11. Because I buy my partner things, I expect her to please me 25% Strongly agreed/Agreed
75% Strongly Disagreed/
Some young men interpreted this item as whether they are able to provide for their partners      Future scales may want to consider adding items about young men’s perceived obligation and ability to provide for their partners
12. I let my partner know that she is not the only girlfriend I have or could have 19% Strongly agreed/Agreed
81% Strongly Disagreed/
For some this item seemed implausible (because it would surely end the relationship)
Item was interpreted as being honest or that by not telling their partner they have “side chicks” they are protecting her
    Assumes that participant is in a monogamous relationship and does not consider potential for open relationships Item should be revised to better capture whether or not young men are using threats of relationships with other woman as a means to cont
13. When I want my partner to sleep over, I expect her to agree 40% Strongly agreed/Agreed
60% Strongly Disagreed/
Some young men interpreted this item as wanting to spend quality bonding time with their partner and thus having the expectation she will want to sleep over     Item assumes that participants have started sleeping together and are able to have sleep overs Future scales should consider adding items about expectations for quality time as well as sex with their partners