Protocol - Family Conflict - Parent-Child

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The Conflict Tactics Scales: Parent-Child Version (CTS PC) is a 35-item questionnaire given to adult parents of children or given to children themselves that evaluates how parents deal with conflict with their child, including nonviolent discipline, psychological aggression, and physical assault in the parent-child relationship. The respondent reviews the list of items and chooses a response from an eight-point Likert scale that best describes the strategies used by the parent to manage conflict with the child. It can be self-administered or administered by an interview as part of a personal interview.

Specific Instructions

The Conflict Tactics Scales: Parent-Child Version (CTS PC) is a proprietary instrument, and administration requires a licensing agreement from Western Psychological Services. The Social Environments Working Group notes that this measure can be used for both biological parent-child relationships and relationships with stepchildren or adopted children.


Limited Availability


Summary of the Conflict Tactics Scales: Parent-Child (CTS PC)

The Conflict Tactics Scales: Parent-Child Version (CTS PC) includes 35 items focused on the respondent’s behavior with his or her child as well as the parent’s own experiences as a child. The scale provides scores for:

  • - Nonviolent discipline
  • - Physical assault
  • - Neglect
  • - Psychological aggression
  • - Weekly discipline
  • - Sexual abuse


Items from the Conflict Tactics Scales: Parent-Child Version (CTS PC) include explaining to the child why something he or she did was wrong, sending the child to time out, threatening the child with a knife or gun, and calling the child hurtful names. Response options capture the number of times (such as never, once, twice, etc.) specific disciplinary strategies were used during the past year.

Scoring Instructions

For each item, the respondent indicates the number of times the event has occurred in the past year. The responses are summed for all questions with higher scores indicating more psychological and physical abuse.

Conflict Tactics Scales: Parent Child Copyright © 2003 by Western Psychological Services. All rights reserved.

Personnel and Training Required

No specific training is needed if data are collected through a self-administered questionnaire. If interviewers administer the questionnaire, the interviewer must be trained to conduct personal interviews with individuals from the general population and found competent to administer these particular questions (i.e., tested by an expert) at the end of the training. The interviewer should be trained to prompt respondents further if a “don’t know” response is provided.

Equipment Needs

These questions can be administered in a computerized or noncomputerized format (i.e., paper-and pencil instrument). Computer software is necessary to develop computer-assisted instruments. The interviewer will require a laptop computer or handheld computer to administer or to allow the respondent to self-administer a computer-assisted questionnaire.

Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Self-administered or interviewer-administered questionnaire




Adults, aged 18 years and older

Selection Rationale

The Conflict Tactics Scales: Parent-Child Version (CTS PC) was selected because it is a widely used, validated protocol with documented validity and reliability. Past research also shows that the scale’s scores are associated with relevant outcomes.


Chinese, English

Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Fam conflict parent child proto 63018-6 LOINC
Derived Variables


Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel #2 (ERP 2) reviewed the measures in the Demographics, Environmental Exposures, and Social Environments domains.

Guidance from ERP 2 includes:

• Revised descriptions of the measure

Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive (link)

Protocol Name from Source

Conflict Tactics Scales: Parent-Child Version (CTS PC), 2003


Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Boney-McCoy, S., Sugarman, D. B., Finkelhor, D., Moore, D. W., & Runyan, D. K. (2003). Conflict Tactics Scales. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.

The Conflict Tactics Scales: Parent-Child (CTS PC) is a proprietary instrument and can be obtained through:

Western Psychological Services
12031 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025-1251
Telephone: 800.648.8857
E-mail: research@wpspublish.com

General References

Straus, M. (1979). Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The Conflict Tactics (CT) Scales. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 41, 75-88.

Straus, M. A. (2007). Conflict Tactics Scales. In N. A. Jackson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of domestic violence (pp. 190-197). New York: Routledge.

Straus, M., & Hamby, S.L. (1997). Measuring physical and psychological maltreatment of children with the Conflict Tactics Scales. In G. Kaufman Kantor & J. L. Jasinsky (Eds.), Out of the darkness: Contemporary research perspectives on family violence (pp. 119-135). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX210402000000 Protocol 210402 - proprietary. Check DCW for more
contact. show less
Social Environments
Measure Name

Family Conflict

Release Date

October 8, 2010


This measure is a questionnaire to assess the level of conflict in families and in intimate relationships.


This measure is used to evaluate conflict and strategies to deal with conflict within parent-child and intimate relationships.


Social environments, family, violence, Revised Conflict Tactics Scales, CTS 2, conflict, relationships, nonviolent discipline, assault, neglect, aggression, discipline, abuse, negotiation, injury, sexual coercion, proprietary

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
210401 Family Conflict - Intimate-Relationship
210402 Family Conflict - Parent-Child

Petrican, R., et al. (2021) Pubertal timing and functional neurodevelopmental alterations independently mediate the effect of family conflict on adolescent psychopathology. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. 2021 December; 52: 101032. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2021.101032

Somerville, L. H., et al. (2018) The Lifespan Human Connectome Project in Development: A large-scale study of brain connectivity development in 5-21 year olds. Neuroimage. 2018 August; 2018(183): 456-468. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.08.050

Zucker, R. A, et al. (2018) Assessment of culture and environment in the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development Study: Rationale, description of measures, and early data. Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2018 August; 32: 107-120. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2018.03.004

Hser, Y.-I., et al. (2017) Reductions in cannabis use are associated with improvements in anxiety, depression, and sleep quality, but not quality of life. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2017 October; 81: 53-58. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2017.07.012

Webel, A. R., et al. (2016) Social resources, health promotion behavior, and quality of life in adults living with HIV. Appl Nurs Res. 2016 May; 30: 204-9. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2015.08.001