DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Healthy Versus Unhealthy Relationships


When discussing healthy versus unhealthy relationships we are not speaking only to romantic relationships and your partner but also to relationships with friends, family, co-workers, supervisors, and anyone else that you may encounter and develop any level of connection to.  If you find that you are in an unhealthy relationship and do not have anyone to turn to we have a team of professionals at LaGuardia Community College who can help or connect you with the help that you need.  If you find yourself in immediate physical danger you should connect with the police immediately.  Unhealthy relationships are similar to a cancer that will spread and escalate to dangerous heights if not addressed immediately.  Unhealthy relationships may present themselves as physical in nature but verbal and psychological abuse is also very much under the umbrella of unhealthy relationships. 


Physical abuse is when an individual utilizes physical force in order to get their way that may be in the form of hitting, grabbing, slapping, or shoving.  Sexual abuse is when an individual forces themselves sexually against another individuals will without consent.  Even if you find that you are in a relationship with someone it is still considered abuse if you are forced by your partner into a sexual act without giving your consent. 


Verbal and psychological abuse is just as dangerous in nature.  This may come in the form of an individual attempting to control your decisions and who you spend time with.  Intimidation may be used in order to exert control that may come in the form of threats of violence.  This should be taken very seriously.  Disrespect is when an individual makes fun of you, your skills, abilities, personality, or anything that damages your self-esteem or image of yourself.  Verbal and physical abuse does not always come off as aggressive by intention but continues to take a physical toll on you.  Dependence refers to when an individual feels that they cannot live without another person and threatens to do something that is drastic in nature in order to maintain the relationship. 



Self-Assessment: Abusive Behavior Inventory

Circle the number that best represents your closest estimate of how often each of the behaviors happened in your relationship with your partner or former partner during the previous six months.

1 Never; 2 Rarely; 3 Occasionally; 4 Frequently; 5 Very frequently


1. Called you a name and/or criticized you. 1           2           3           4           5


2. Tried to keep you from doing something you wanted to do (e.g., going out with friends, going to meetings).    1           2           3           4           5


3. Gave you angry stares or looks.  1           2           3           4           5


4. Prevented you from having money for your own use.  1        2       3        4        5


5. Ended a discussion with you and made the decision himself/herself. 

1              2              3              4              5


6. Threatened to hit or throw something at you.  1           2           3           4           5


7. Pushed, grabbed, or shoved you.  1           2           3           4           5


8. Put down your family and friends.  1           2           3           4           5


9. Accused you of paying more attention to someone/something else.   

1              2              3              4              5


10. Put you on an allowance.  1           2           3           4           5


11. Used your children to threaten you (e.g., told you that you would

      lose custody, said he/she would leave town with the children).      

1           2           3           4           5


12. Became very upset with you because dinner / housework, was  not done when s/he wanted it or the way s/he thought it should be. 1         2         3         4         5


13.  Said things to scare you (e.g., told you something  “bad” would happen, threatened to commit suicide). 1         2            3           4           5


14. Slapped, hit, or punched you. 1            2            3            4            5


15. Made you do something humiliating or degrading (e.g., beg for forgiveness, ask for permission to use the car or to do something).   1           2           3           4          5


16. Checked up on you (e.g., listened to your phone calls, checked the mileage on your car, called you repeatedly at work).   1            2            3            4            5


17. Drove recklessly when you were in the car. 1           2           3           4           5


18. Pressured you to have sex in a way you didn’t want. 1       2       3       4       5


19. Refused to do housework or child care.  1           2           3           4           5


20. Threatened you with a knife, gun, or other weapon. 1       2       3       4       5


21. Spanked you.  1           2           3           4           5


22. Told you that you were a bad parent. 1           2            3            4            5


23. Stopped /tried to stop you from going to work/school.  1       2       3       4       5


24. Threw, hit, kicked, or smashed something. 1        2        3       4          5


25. Kicked you. 1           2           3           4           5


26. Physically forced you to have sex.  1            2            3            4            5


27. Threw you around. 1            2            3            4            5


28. Physically attacked the sexual parts of your body.  1         2         3         4         5


29. Choked or strangled you. 1           2           3           4           5


30. Used a knife, gun, or other weapon against you. 1          2          3          4          5



Add the numbers you circled and divide the total by 30 to find your score. The higher your score, the more abusive your relationship.  The inventory was given to 100 men and 78 women equally divided into groups of abusers/abused and nonabusers/nonabused. The men were members of a chemical dependency treatment program in a veterans’ hospital and the women were partners of these men. Abusing or abused men earned an average score of 1.8; abusing or abused women earned an average score of 2.3. Nonabusing/abused men and women earned scores of 1.3 and 1.6, respectively.


If you find that your results reveal that you are potentially in an unhealthy relationships you are strongly encouraged to connect with someone in the LaGuardia Community College Wellness Center in Room C249.  You can speak with your advisor if you have any questions or need assistance making this connection.




Source:  Melanie F. Shepard and James A. Campbell. The abusive behavior inventory: A measure of  

                      psychological and physical abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, September 1992, 7, 

                      no. 3, 291–305. Inventory is on pages 303–304. Used by permission of Sage Publications,

                      2455 Teller Road, Newbury Park, CA91320.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.