The Rathus Assertiveness Schedule

21 January, 2020
Assertiveness is a great human quality, but how assertive are you? You can measure this through the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule.

The Rathus Assertiveness Schedule, developed by Dr. Spencer A. Rathus, is a test to measure your assertiveness. As a social skill, assertiveness is essential for your well-being. Knowing how to express your thoughts and needs and defending your rights can boost your relationship with others and improve your self-esteem. Although not everybody’s born assertive, it’s a skill you can develop.

To improve this skill, there are tips and strategies. Assertiveness can reduce violent behavior in human beings. Besides, it improves self-respect, values, and self-trust. Without a good level of assertiveness, humans take more time to develop those characteristics.

“It is the hallmark of an educated person to remain skeptical of accepted views and to regard even the most popular beliefs as working assumptions.”

-Spencer A. Rathus-

A teacher in a classroom representing the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule.

The Rathus Assertiveness Schedule

The Rathus Assertiveness Schedule is still valid and useful. Some people see themselves as highly assertive, but sometimes this gets confused with aggressiveness. The test can help differentiate between aggressiveness and assertiveness. Also, the Rathus Schedule has another purpose as a training guide.

What does it measure?

The Rathus Assertiveness Schedules can measure the following:

  • A person’s assertiveness.
  • If the person usually defends their rights, ideas, and needs.
  • If a person is passive or aggressive.
  • The information you get from the test helps you know which areas to work on. For example, someone who has low assertiveness due to their social anxiety.
Two men arguing.

What are the questions in the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule?

The Rathus scale consists of 30 questions with 6 possible answers, from very characteristic of me to very uncharacteristic. The questions, reproduced here from Rathus, 1973, are:

  1. Most people seem to be more aggressive and assertive than I am.
  2. I have hesitated to make or accept dates because of shyness.
  3. When the food serves at a restaurant is not done to my satisfaction, I complain about it to the waiter or waitress.
  4. I am careful to avoid hurting other people’s feelings, even when I feel that I have been injured.
  5. If a salesperson has gone to considerable trouble to show me merchandise that is not quite suitable, I have a difficult time saying “No.”
  6. When I am asked to do something, I insist upon knowing why.
  7. There are times when I look for a good, vigorous argument.
  8. I strive to get ahead as well as most people in my position.
  9. To be honest, people often take advantage of me.
  10. I enjoy starting conversations with new acquaintances or strangers.
  11. I often don’t know what to say to people I find attractive.
  12. Hesitate to make phone calls to business establishments and institutions.
  13. Rather apply for a job or for admission to a college by writing letters than by going through personal interviews.
  14. I find it embarrassing to return merchandise.
  15. If a close and respected relative were annoying me, I would smother my feelings rather than express my annoyance.
  16. I have avoided asking questions for fear of sounding stupid.
  17. During an argument, I am sometimes afraid that I will get so upset that I will shake all over.
  18. If a famed and respected lecturer makes a comment which I think is incorrect, I will have the audience hear my point of view as well.
  19. I avoid arguing over prices with clerks and salespeople.
  20. When I have done something important or worthwhile, I manage to let others know about it.
  21. I am open and frank about my feelings.
  22. If someone has been spreading false and bad stories about me, I see him or her as soon as possible and “talk” about it.
  23. Have a hard time saying “No.”
  24. I tend to bottle up my emotions rather than make a scene.
  25. I complain about the poor service in a restaurant and elsewhere.
  26. When I am given a compliment, I sometimes just don’t know what to say.
  27. If a couple near me in a theater or at a lecture were conversing rather loudly, I would ask them to be quiet or to take their conversation elsewhere.
  28. Anyone attempting to push ahead of me in a line is in for a good battle.
  29. I am quick to express an opinion.
  30. There are times when I just can’t say anything.
An Asian couple paying their restaurant bill.

Assessment of the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule

To assess this test, testers know there are positive and negative answers. The sum of points will give a number. Then, you’ll know your percentage of assertiveness. According to your results, you can be considered not assertive, mildly assertive, assertive, or aggressive.

Following this, your psychiatrist will explain which aspects to work on, what tools to use, and the best way to use them and improve your personal needs.

In short, assertiveness can be learned, developed, and improved. It’s about dealing with your insecurities and social anxiety to set boundaries and relate to others more confidently.

  • Gustafson, R. (1992). Una prueba psicométrica sueca del Rathus Assertiveness Schedule.  Psychological Reports , 71 (6), pág. 479. doi: 10.2466 / pr0.71.6.479-482.
  • Rathus, SA (1973). Un cronograma de 30 ítems para evaluar el comportamiento asertivo. Behavior Therapy , 4 (3), págs. 398–406. doi: 10.1016 / s0005-7894 (73) 80120-0.
  • Rathus, S. A. (1973). A 30-item schedule for assessing assertive behavior. Behavior Therapy4(3), 398–406. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7894(73)80120-0