Do you like dominant people? Probably not! Dominance is a negatively viewed trait, and it is a trait that plays an important role psychological studies about partner violence (Shamby, 1996). People that beat their partners up are often dominant and agressive (see also the aggression scale here on PsyToolkit).

Here you can find out how dominant you are in your relationship.

The scale used here measures 3 facets of a dominant partner:

  • Authority — about being the boss

  • Restrictiveness — about restricting one’s partner

  • Disparagement — about undervalueing one’s partner

In a study with 131 undergraduate male and female students (from courses on sociology and jusice studies courses) who were in a relationship or had been no longer than a year ago were tested. The data were used for factor analysis which created the final scale.

As the paper points out, the sample is not representative of the population.

Score Number of items Range Midpoint Average among students (n=131)
















There are different degrees of dominance. Many newspapers covered recent research suggesting that some level of dominiance of one partner can be positive, read for example here. Read the original abstract of the study that says so here.

Run the demo

The scale has been published in an academic journal (see references). It seems that it can be used for research given that the author and paper are acknowledged. Please note that the copyright lies with Sherry Hamby (details in references).


This is a straightforward scale questionnaire with 32 Likert scale items, some of which are reverse scored.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: agree_ard
- {score=4} Strongly agree
- {score=3} Agree
- {score=2} Disagree
- {score=1} Strongly disagree

l: ard
t: scale agree_ard
o: width 70%
o: random
q: People have many different ways of relating to each other.<br>
The following statements are all different ways of relating to<br>
or thinking about your partner.<br>
Please read each statement and decide how much you agree with it.<br>
- {score=1/2/3/4} My partner often has good ideas.
- I try to keep my partner from spending time with opposite sex friends.
- If my partner and I can't agree, I usually have the final say.
- It bothers me when my partner makes plans without talking to me first.
- {score=1/2/3/4} My partner doesn't have enough sense to make important decisions.
- I hate losing arguments with my partner.
- My partner should not keep any secrets from me.
- I insist on knowing where my partner is at all times.
- When my partner and I watch TV I hold the remote control.
- {score=1/2/3/4} My partner and I generally have equal say about decisions.
- It would bother me if my partner made more money than I did.
- {score=1/2/3/4} I generally consider my partner's interests as much as mine.
- I tend to be jealous.
- Things are easier in my relationship if I am in charge.
- Sometimes I have to remind my partner of who's boss.
- I have a right to know everything my partner does.
- It would make me mad if my partner did something I had said not to do.
- {score=1/2/3/4} Both partners in a relationship should have equal say about decisions.
- If my partner and I can't agree, I should have the final say.
- {score=1/2/3/4} I understand there are some things my partner may not want to talk about with me.
- My partner needs to remember that I am in charge.
- {score=1/2/3/4} My partner is a talented person.
- It's hard for my partner to learn new things.
- {score=1/2/3/4} People usually like my partner.
- My partner makes a lot of mistakes.
- {score=1/2/3/4} My partner can handle most things that happen.
- I sometimes think my partner is unattractive.
- {score=1/2/3/4} My partner is basically a good person.
- My partner doesn't know how to act in public.
- I often tell my partner how to do something.
- I dominate my partner.
- I have a right to be involved with anything my partner does.

l: ard_authority
t: set
- sum $ard.15 $ard.10 $ard.21 $ard.19 $ard.31 $ard.14 $ard.18 $ard.30 $ard.6 $ard.3 $ard.11 $ard.9

l: ard_restrictiveness
t: set
- sum $ard.16 $ard.8 $ard.32 $ard.2 $ard.17 $ard.13 $ard.7 $ard.20 $ard.4

l: ard_disparagement
t: set
- sum $ard.28 $ard.24 $ard.5 $ard.22 $ard.1 $ard.29 $ard.26 $ard.27 $ard.25 $ard.23 $ard.12

l: feedback
t: radio
q: Your scores on the relationship dominance scale are as follows:<br>
Authority: {$ard_authority}
Restrictiveness: {$ard_restrictiveness}
Disparagement: {$ard_disparagement}
- Okay


  • Hamby, S. L., (1996). The dominance scale: Preliminary Psychometric Properties. Violence and Victims, 11, 199-212. Link to paper online.