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Development and Validation of Betrayal Scale for Women.

Byline: Hina Sultan and Amina Muazzam

The present research was conducted to develop and validate an indigenous self-report measure of intimate partner betrayal for married women. Phenomenology of betrayal was identified by exploring relevant literature and interviews with ten married women. A final list of items was generated after taking experts' opinion. After piloting, the factorial validity of the 83 items scale was determined on a sample of 200 married women (100 housewives and 100 working women). The scale was subjected to principal component analysis using varimax rotation method and 76 items were retained in a four well defined factor structure, which accounted for 60.71% of the total variance. The emerging four factors were labeled as financial betrayal ([alpha] = .95), emotional betrayal ([alpha] = .88), health betrayal ([alpha] = .79), and sexual betrayal ([alpha]= .87) subscales with an overall high [alpha] of .98.

Discriminant validity was also ascertained by obtaining an inverse relationship with Locke and Wallace (1959) Marital Adjustment Test (r = -.62 p<.01). Hence, Betrayal Scale for Women (BSW) is a psychometrically sound tool with uniformity, internal consistency, and validity.

Keywords. Betrayal, intimate partner, validity, married women

In Pakistani culture, intimate partner violence and betrayal issues have become a major area of interest in the last three decades (World Health Organization, 2013). The terms abuse and betrayal are overlapping but differences are prevalent in literature. United Nation Organization (1993) defines intimate partner violence as, "Any demonstration of gender based brutality that outcomes in, or is probably to bring about, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including dangers of such acts, compulsion or self-assertive hardship of freedom, in case of happening out in the open or private life". Gottman (2012) described betrayal in romantic relationships as couple's risk for infidelity or serious disloyalty. Specific forms of betrayal among couples include sexual infidelity, conditional commitment, a nonsexual affair, lying, coldness, disrespect, unfairness, selfishness, and breaking promises.

In abusive patterns, husband physically or mentally tortures the wife for not cooking well or not keeping the things in order. He is just reacting angrily over what was done while betrayal means cheating or deceiving another person deliberately. In fact, there is a contradiction in the acts and deeds of betrayer. For example, betrayer snatches the assets of wife by being lenient and showing care. Such cases are not new in Pakistani culture; however, bringing them in lime light isn't socially endorsed. Women having any complaints against her husband are generally considered to be disloyal and her integrity is challenged. With the change in time and awareness this approach needs to be change. This phenomenon cannot be swept under the carpet and hence need to be addressed (Bacci, 2012).

Different forms of spousal betrayal are prevalent in the Pakistani society. Women experience financial betrayal regarding possession and ownership of jewelry, haq mehar, and dowry. For instance, groom demands a house or car in dowry at the time of marriage and it becomes obligatory for the women parents to fulfill the demand at the spot (Haider, 2010). Another form of betrayal is health related betrayal. Sometimes partners lie about their health status before marriage. They conceal different kinds of physical, mental, or sexual problems and thus betray their wives. When after the marriage their health status (kidney being transplanted, HCV, HIV+, metal sickness, etc.) are revealed to wife she is bound to live with her husband just to avoid the stigma of divorce (Sekandari and Mojaddidi, 2015). On the contrary, it has been observed that when women suffer from any terminal illness, their partners are more likely to leave them (Aqib, 2012).

Jabbar (2012) reported a case study of a 40 years old Pakistani woman about her illness and husband betrayal. She was the mother of four children and living a happy married life but everything changed when she was suddenly diagnosed with cervical cancer. Woman reported that cancer was life threatening but she felt more pain and grief by receiving the divorce papers from her husband than having painful treatment of cancer (Ali, Israr, and Janjua, 2009). In Pakistani society, sexual infidelity is one of the worst forms of betrayals because such types of activities are against Islamic teachings and there is a clear distinction between the concepts of mehram and na-mehram (means sexual relations are allowed amongst couples having marriage contract only). Another form of betrayal is emotional betrayal which comprises breaking promises, lying, and inflicting hurt (Iqbal, 2013).

No doubt, men are also betrayed by women but the condition is more severe in case of women. As the term violence or abuse is used to refer betrayal also, so, statistics tell violence ratio. In Pakistan, every day, more than three women and one man are killed by their intimate partners (Ali and Gavino, 2008). It is estimated that 70 to 90 percent of Pakistani women experience any sort of violence in their marital life (Feroz, 2017). Atif (2011) asserts that domestic abuse kills and destroys as many females belonging to age group 15-44 years as cancer. Unfortunately, Pakistan is a developing country where women are being deprived of their basic rights and they are afraid to raise voice on such a sensitive topic. The major causes behind this injustice is male dominated society, dependency on husbands for financial support, ignorance about women's rights, illiteracy, lack of cooperation from in-laws, drug addiction, and mental sickness of the partner (Watto, Naz, Murtaza, and Rashid, 2012).

Moreover, previous researchers focused their attention on physical, psychological and sexual violence while ignoring the above mentioned betrayal issues among women. For example, Hassan and Malik developed "Karachi Domestic Violence Screening Scale" in 2009. This scale consists of items measuring suspiciousness, stalking, staring and hitting, choking, throwing objects, staring, and harming the partner's internal organs, or beating. However, the construct of wife betrayal is still neglected. There are also many foreign scales on domestic abuse because it is a worldwide problem but still the assessment of betrayal is missing (Riley, 2008). According to U.S. Department of Justice (2017) every year between 1 million and 3 million women in America experience physical abuse by their intimate partners. Hence, Sheppard and Campbell (1992) developed "The Abusive Behavior Inventory" measuring physical and psychological abuse.

Another scale on violence is Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus, Hambly, Boney, and Sugarman, 1996). The scale evaluates severe forms of abuse in dating, cohabiting, and marital relationships. It has been seen that international scales are not specifically designed for married women, they are linguistically biased, and measuring the phenomenon of abuse and not betrayal (Buss, 2003). Further, the alarming statistics on gender based discrimination, cultural traditions, and scarcity of work diverted the attention of researchers to empirically study the construct of betrayal. Thus, there was a dire need to develop an indigenous scale for women to measure dynamic and unique aspects of intimate partner betrayal in the Pakistani context. Psychometric properties of the scale are also examined to maintain the stability of scale overtime. Additionally, it was identified that if there are any differences in experience of betrayal between working and non-working women.


The present study was carried out in three phases.

Phase 1: Identifying the Phenomenology of Betrayal Scale for Women

Items were generated by using different steps. These steps are as follows:

Step 1: Literature Review

Extensive literature review was done to understand the construct of betrayal (Rabbani, Qureshi, and Rizvi, 2008; Khan and Sajid, 2011; Al-tawil, 2012). Several books i.e., "The Pakistani Bride" (Sidhwa, 2005), "Betrayal of Sacred Trust: Living with an Unfaithful Husband" (Staurt, 2005) "Blind to Betrayal: Why We Fool Ourselves We Aren't Being Fooled" (Freyd and Birell, 2013) etc. were consulted and few items were generated by these resources.

Semi structured interviews with women. Ten participants were selected on the basis of convenient sampling. Four housewives and four working women were taken. Two interviews were also conducted with practicing psychologists who deal with family issues. The participants belonged to the age group 21-45 years (M = 33.8, SD = 8.5). The education of participants was from B.A to MPhil. Participants were asked to share their experiences of betrayal experienced by their husbands. Open ended questions were asked such as: What types of betrayal have you experienced in your marital life? What are the general reasons of deceptions among couples which you might observe in your surroundings? For example, one of the participants said: "mere shohar rupe paisay k mamle mein sincere nahi hain, aur sub se barh kr wo jhoot bht bolte hain" (My husband is not sincere in matters of money and above all he lies a lot) (Interviewee 1).

This sentence was rephrased as "mere shohar aksar muamlat me mujh se jhoot bolte hain" (My husband often lies with me in different matters). Another item was developed from this statement "mere shohar ne bhari raqam k muamle me mujhe dhoka dia"(My husband deceived me in case of huge amount). One participant stated that: "aksar log shadi se pehle age, education aur business k mutalik jhoot bolte hain" (People often lie about their age, education, and business before marriage) (Interviewee 5). This statement was rephrased into questions about husbands' lie regarding age, qualification and financial status.

Psychologists were asked to explain which types of couple issues they deal with in their usual clinical settings. One psychologist said: "betrayal Pakistan mein bht common hai, aik client ne mujhe btaya k un k shohar ki aur khawateen mein kafi dilchaspi hai aur wo late night ghar ate hain" (Betrayal is very common in Pakistan, one client told me that her husband is involved in extra marital relationships and returns home very late) (Interview 9). Another family psychologist also discussed another important issue in detail. She said: "aksr mard drugs lete hain ya un ko koi mental disorder hota hai mgr parents shadi kr dete hain aur larki ki zindagi barbad ho jati hai" (Men often take drugs or they may suffer from any mental disorder but their parents marry them off and the life of girl is ruined) (Interviewee 10). Thus, indigenous interviews provided a dearth of knowledge to generate items for scale.

Review of the first draft of questionnaire with co-author. A pool of 91 items was generated. During review process, it was noticed that some items were double barreled and overlapping. So, researchers skipped out the items 3, 14, 16, 17, 28, 32, and 34 and included 13 new items in the initial draft. Hence, the scale consisted of 97 items.

Step 2: Endorsements

Originally, 97 items that sampled the domain of betrayal were given to 5 judges (women) who were practicing clinical psychologists. The other two women constituted one who was having happy married life, and the other one was divorcee. The qualification of women ranged from Masters to PhD. The age range of the women was 31-42 years (M = 35.2 SD = 9.1). All women independently analyzed each item for: (a) relevance to construct, (b) relevance to clarity. Response format for endorsements ranged from yes (2), to some extent (1) and no (0). Streiner and Geoffrey (2006) set the criterion that items receiving 20% and above endorsements should be omitted. Hence, in relevance to construct, item # 9, 24, and 26 received 20% above endorsements were deleted out. In relevance to clarity, items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 14, 15, 18, and 19, 20, 29, and 34 received over 20% endorsements. These items were not omitted rather the wording of the items was changed in order to improve the clarity of items.

Step 3: Pilot Testing

The response format of Betrayal Scale for Women was decided to be a Likert type 5-point scale, where 0 = strongly disagree to 4= strongly agree. Pilot testing was carried out to clarify the ambiguous items. For this purpose, 30 participants (15 housewives and 15 working women) were taken. The age range of the participants was 20-50 years (M = 32.77, SD = 7.82). Education of the participants ranged from Matric - MPhil. Participants were asked to fill out and point out the ambiguous, double barreled or overlapping items. Participants stated that 11 items were unclear. So, the wording of reported items was changed. After piloting, 83 items were retained in the scale. At this stage, the psychometric assessment of the items with the high alpha coefficient i.e., [alpha] = .99 was achieved.

Phase 2: Establishing the Construct Validity through Factor Analysis Participants. Sample of 200 women was recruited by using convenient sampling technique from Lahore city as statisticians estimated that at least 200 participants are required to get the linearity and normal distribution of data (Gagne and Hancock, 2006; MacCallum, Widaman, Preacher, and Hong, 2001). Detailed demographic characteristics are given in table 1.

Procedure. Betrayal scale along with consent and demographic forms was distributed among 200 participants (100 housewives 100 working women). Participants were requested to fill the questionnaire honestly. The anonymity of participants was maintained. After that process, results were evaluated through Principal Component Analysis (PCA).

Table 1 Demographic Characteristics of Participants as Frequency and Percentages (N = 200)

###Variables###n (%)

Age in Years

















No. of children














Husband's age in Years









Husband occupation




Duration of marriage





Factor analysis. Exploratory Factor Analysis was performed on 76 items of the betrayal scale to ensure the dimensionality and construct validity of the scale. Factors were extracted through using varimax rotation (Bryant and Yarnold, 2011). First of all, inspection of data matrix showed sufficient correlations between variables to justify the application of factor analysis. Kaiser-Guttman's retention criterion of eigenvalues greater than 1 resulted in four clear and accurate factors. Finally the first four factors elucidation most strongly responded to the finest approximation of the unsophisticated structure and it established for the most part of complete interpretations of factors. The eigenvalues of four factors were 37.55, 5.50, 4.03, and 3.29 respectively which accounted for 60.71% of the total variance.

The calculated value of Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) was remarkably high i.e., .91 (Bates, 2011). The Bartlett's test of sphericity was also significant (p .3. An estimation of item total correlation indicated that all the items were significantly interrelated with the total scale (r = .73 to .86) (see Table 3).

Table 3 Chronbach Alpha and Correlations Among Subscales of BSW (N = 200)


1. Financial betrayal###18###.95###-###.73###.86###.74

2. Health Betrayal###10###.79###-###.80###.74

3. Emotional betrayal###31###.88###.86

4. Sexual betrayal###17###.87###-

Discriminant validity. To compute the discriminant validity, it was hypothesized that women experiencing betrayal will have poor martial adjustment.

Participants. Fifty married female participants (N = 50), residents of Lahore city, were selected through convenient sampling with age of 20-50 years (M = 35, SD = 7.02), were married for last one to twenty five years.

Assessment Measures. The discriminant validity of Betrayal Scale for Women was esimated by evaluating its relationship with Locke and Wallace Marital Adjustment Test (1959). The scale has well established validity in Pakistan and has been use by local researchers (Qadir, Khalid, Medhin, 2015). Written permission was taken from the authors to use and translate the scale by five bilingual experts. The reliability of the scale was [alpha] =.74. The scoring format of the scale ranged from almost always disagree (0) to almost always disagree (7).

Procedure. Participants were asked to fill out the two scales i.e., BSW and LWMAT. Confidentiality of participants was maintained. After data collection, the responses of 50 women on BSW were compared with their responses on LWMAT.

Results. Results showed that there was a significant inverse correlation between betrayal and marital adjustment (r = -.62, p<.01), suggesting that women experiencing betrayal were having poor marital adjustment.

Additional Analysis. The differences between housewives and working women in their experience of intimate partner betrayal were also found out. Results showed that working women (M = 37.54, SD = 32.69) were facing more financial betrayal than non-working women (M = 28.01, SD = 25.39), t (198) = .02, p<.05. However, two groups of women did not differ in facing other forms of betrayals (see Table 4).

Table 4 Comparison of Housewives and Working Women in Betrayal (N = 200)

###Housewives###Working Women###95% CI



Financial###28.01 25.39 37.54###32.69###1.22###.03###.11###2.91###.23

Health###33.01 27.24 32.45###26.71###2.22###.21###2.20###1.86###.01

Emotional###9.00###7.15###10.36###8.57###-.87###.38 12.97###3.85###.06



Since 19th and early 20th century, feminist movements are working for the privileges and equal rights of women but still females are being discriminated in almost every sphere of life (Lammers, Ritchie and Robertson, 2005). By adopting and supporting this theoretical framework, researchers focused on domestic violence issues in an entirely different way that were not considered earlier. It was studied that abusive behavior does not always involve tangible violence. In fact, women are often betrayed by their partners into a more lenient and polite way (Engel, 2002). Therefore, current study focused on development and validation of betrayal scale which is different in its content, structure, and implications from already developed scales (PMI; Tolman, 1989; ABI; Sheppard and Campbell, 1992; CTS; Straus, 1979; KDVSS; Hassan and Malik, 2009).

First of all, the items in the scale were developed by conducting in-depth interviews, reviewing relevant literature, and piloting. After that, varimax orthogonal rotation yielded four inter-related but independent dimensions underlying the indigenous betrayal patterns included: 1) financial betrayal, 2) health betrayal, 3) emotional betrayal, and 4) sexual betrayal. There is a solid theoretical evidence that women are suffering from different forms of emotional, sexual, and economic violence around the globe (Gondolf, Heckert, and Kimmel, 2002; Follingstad, Coyne, and Gambone, 2005; Schumacher and Leonard, 2005; Aqib 2012; Fahmy and Rahman, 2008; Khan and Hussain, 2008; Babur, 2007; Afifi, Al-Muhaideb, Hadish, Ismael, and Qeamy, 2011). Distinct traditions and cultures have made a clear division of intimate partner betrayal among Pakistani women than in other parts of the world.

Pre and post marital celebrations like mehndi, Mayuon, Muqlawa treats on special occasions, put extra financial burden on brides' families (Perveen, Hadi, Moomi, Latif, Jafar, and Muhammad, 2011). Financial betrayal subscale coincided with these issues. Emotional and sexual betrayal subscales were examining groom's lie about age, education, conning, and affairs before and after marriage. Spring and Spring (2012) explain that 70% of American population is involved in extra marital affairs where women were more subjugating to these infidelities. Further, health betrayal is the least studied construct in literature. However, violence impact on women health is focused in detail (Medina, Erazo, Davila, and Humphreys, 2011; Grohol, 2013; Dillon, Hussain, Loxton, and Rahman, 2013).

Results of the current research also indicated that working women were experiencing more financial betrayal than non-working women while other forms of betrayal did not vary among women. Chaudhary, Girdhar, and Soni in Ludhiana, Punjab (2009) also found that the ratio of economic abuse among working women was remarkably high 40.6%. However, results showed differences in psychological and sexual abuse among working women and housewives. Sultan and Khawaja (2016) highlighted the incidence of spousal abuse in Lahore, Pakistan. They found out that husbands were snatching wages of their wives who were working outside. Housewives were complaining more about physical abuse while working women were subjected to financial abuse. Few studies revealed that both housewives and working women were suffering from psychological and physical abuse at equal extent (Subramaniam and Sivayogan, 2001; Ali and Gavino, 2008).

Finally, psychometric properties of Betrayal Scale for Women were examined. The results of discriminant validity was based on significant inverse correlation between the scores of BSW and LWMAT concluding that betrayed women have poor marital satisfaction. Similar results were also reported by Ijaz and Khan (2009), Banaie, Aliakbari, Ghalandri, and Eslami (2016) that abused women were less satisfied with their marital life. Moreover, the alpha co-efficient of the scale was remarkably high [alpha] =.98. Hence, the present scale is a valid and reliable measure to systematically assess the dynamics and indigenous perspectives of intimate partner betrayals among married women.

Implications. In Pakistan, Betrayal scale for women is first of its kind in which questions were prepared to examine pre and post marriage intimate partner betrayals which are far different from already developed scales measuring severe forms of violence. Financial, health, emotional, and sexual betrayal subscales can also be used separately to study with different bio-psycho-social constructs. For instance, betrayal issues were found to be associated with poor physical and psychological health of women (Zak, Gold, Ryckman, and Lenney, 2000; Khan and Sajid, 2011). So, the scale can be helpful in examining the health status of women with diverse forms of betrayals and also divert the attention to focus on other sensitive issues like increasing trends of divorce, polygamy, cyber-crimes etc. in the society.

Limitations and Suggestions. Limitations include that women were hesitant to talk about their personal matters with the researchers. They lacked confidence and feeling that if they would reveal their true self, their dignity may be compromised. The quantitative nature of study negotiated issue of lack of depth and profundity. So, qualitative researches are needed to get vigorous information on this important topic. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) can be applied in future to test the fit between the EFA derived factors and the items in the independent sample to find support for the proposed four factors. Moreover, working on such sensitive matters is supporting the empowerment approach where knowledge dissemination, training, and counseling services assist the pre and post victims and helps out in eradicating an inhuman environment against women.


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Publication:Journal of Behavioural Sciences
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Date:Dec 31, 2017
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