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Assertiveness test for adults online - which one to use?

Online assertiveness test pdf

Assertiveness is a matter of practice. It is an attitude that can be developed and constantly improved. Its importance increases in the modern world, which bombards us with an excess of information, experiences, and responsibilities. In the 21st century, the ability to set one's boundaries while respecting the boundaries of others is becoming increasingly important.

It is also crucial to understand the difference between assertive behavior and aggressive behavior. Many people make a big mistake by considering their aggressiveness as assertiveness. In the long run, this has a very negative impact on their relationships with people.

You may be wondering how to check your assertiveness. Or you would like to find out if you are an assertive person. We have taken the time to analyze and evaluate the tests available. In particular, we considered the availability of a free test online or in PDF format.

Taking the test is a good starting point, especially if it gives us practical advice on what area to start working on.

Free Assertiveness Test - types

Before using a selected questionnaire, it is worth understanding the history of its creation, and the rules for interpreting the results. It is also crucial it meets the criteria of credibility and reliability. You can find many different assertiveness tests on the Internet.

Among them, we can find many original studies, which, however, should be treated as a quiz rather than a reliable psychological test that has been well-calibrated and meets scientific criteria.

In this study, we will present two leading assertiveness tests. The good news is that both can be done for free. However, we will explain why, in the case of one of them, it is worth using a description of the results prepared by a qualified specialist.

The first of these tools is the Rathus Assertiveness Test. The second one is the Assertiveness Test by Anni Townend. For the first one, here is the full list of questions. For both, we explain how to calculate and interpret the test results.

Rathus Assertiveness Test

The Rathus Assertiveness Schedule (RAS ) was developed by clinical psychologist Dr. Spencer A. Rathus and first published in 1973. It was a response to the work of cognitive behavioral therapists. Among them, a psychotherapist from South Africa, Joseph Wolpe, stood out. He defined the concept of assertiveness for the first time (we write about it in more detail in the dedicated post titled Assertiveness ). Rathus built on the work of Wolpe.

The reliability, validity, and stability of the Rathus Test results have been confirmed by scientific research conducted, among others, by the Swedish psychologist R. Gustafson and published in 1992.

In 2011, the questionnaire was modernized and corrected by American scientists Thompson and Berenbaum, thanks to which a distinction was introduced in the interpretation of test results, which depends on the gender of the test person.

What does the Rathus Test measure?

This test measures a person's level of assertiveness and allows them to relate this level to the results of the wider population. In particular, it also allows us to distinguish between assertiveness and aggressiveness.

Some people perceive themselves as highly assertive, when in fact they exhibit aggressive behavior. Properly analyzed and commented results of this study also allow us to indicate possible areas that the tested person should work on.

How is the Rathus Test constructed?

The questionnaire consists of 30 statements that describe a specific behavior or belief. We respond to each such statement using a 6-point response scale. Each answer is assigned an appropriate value, based on which the results of the entire test are then summed up. The response scale and the values assigned to them are as follows:

+3 = very much like me

+2 = rather like me

+1 = slightly like me

-1 = slightly unlike me

-2 = rather unlike me

-3 = very much unlike me

Theoretically, the total score ranges from -90 to +90 (these are extreme situations where someone would give the same extreme answers to all questions).

In practice, test results range from -48 to +55 for women and from -41 to +65 for men. Depending on gender, the reference point for comparing the level of assertiveness of a given person to the entire population is different.

For example: a woman whose level of assertiveness is assessed as higher than 80% of the female population will obtain a total test result of 26. For a man, the result will be 30.

Here is a list of questions-statements that make up the Rathus Assertiveness Test:

  1. Most people around me seem to be more aggressive and assertive than I am.

  2. I hesitate to make or accept appointments because of my shyness.

  3. When the food served in a restaurant is not satisfactory, I complain to the waiter or waitress.

  4. I try not to hurt other people's feelings, even if I feel they have hurt me.

  5. If a seller makes a great effort to show me clothes or items that I don't like, it's hard for me to say no.

  6. When asked to do something, I insist on knowing why I should do it.

  7. I almost always look for decisive and strong arguments when I have a conversation.

  8. I just try to do my thing and move forward without drawing attention to myself.

  9. Honestly, people often take advantage of me.

  10. I like starting conversations with strangers.

  11. I often don't know what to say to people I find attractive.

  12. I hesitate when calling stores and institutions.

  13. I'd rather apply for a job or get onto a course by email than by going through in-person interviews.

  14. I'm embarrassed to return something I bought.

  15. If a close relative bothers me, I remain silent and ignore the fact.

  16. I avoid asking questions for fear of sounding stupid.

  17. I don't like arguments, they make me block myself.

  18. If an established teacher makes a statement that I believe is incorrect, I will correct it publicly to make my point clear.

  19. I avoid arguments about my salary during job interviews.

  20. When I have done something important or valuable, I manage to let others know about it.

  21. I am open and honest about my feelings.

  22. If someone is spreading false and harmful stories about me, I contact them as soon as possible to talk about it.

  23. I often have difficulty saying no.

  24. I always tend to suppress my emotions.

  25. I never hesitate to complain about bad service in bars or restaurants.

  26. When I hear a compliment about myself, I don't know what to say.

  27. If a couple near me at the theater or a conference started talking loudly, I would ask them to be quiet or to talk elsewhere.

  28. Anyone who tries to be better than me at something should be prepared to confront me.

  29. I express my opinion quickly.

  30. There are times when I just feel unable to say anything.

Assessment and interpretation of Rathus test results

The numerical test result itself is only a first indication. An important role is played by where we are on the scale of total results, what our gender is, and what our answers to individual partial questions look like.

Therefore, the Rathus Test should be performed with the support of a qualified specialist. In addition to explaining the results, it will also present us with areas that we should start working on and, importantly, suggest appropriate exercises, techniques, and methods of working on ourselves.

Developing assertiveness - book by Anni Townend

Assertiveness Test - 80 questions by Anni Townend

The second tool we want to write about is a questionnaire developed by executive coach Anni Townend. It was first published in 1991 in a book published by Anni entitled "Developing Assertiveness (Self-Development for Managers)".

It is a kind of practical guide for managers based on the theory of transactional analysis. Thanks to it, you can first clearly diagnose what attitude we adopt towards others, and then become familiar with numerous techniques for developing assertiveness and ways of recognizing and correcting inappropriate behavior.

What does the Anni Townend Assertiveness Test measure?

This questionnaire distinguishes four different types of attitudes and allows us to find out which of these attitudes is our dominant one.

These four attitudes are:

  1. submissive (passive),

  2. manipulative,

  3. assertive,

  4. aggressive.

Each attitude is accompanied by characteristic personality traits described in detail, but we can only learn about them after conducting research. This is to avoid autosuggestion while answering. For example, the characteristics of a person with a manipulative attitude are as follows:

  • lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem,

  • lack of respect for yourself and other people,

  • suspicion and disbelief towards the motives of those around you,

  • negative thoughts and feelings about other people and yourself,

  • great caution towards others,

  • dishonesty and lack of sincerity,

  • distorting the meaning of other people's statements,

  • questioning other people's sense of dignity,

  • lack of motivation, apathy, depression.

According to available sources, this tool has not been verified for reliability, reliability, and stability of results. Therefore, it cannot be considered a psychological test that meets the necessary scientific criteria. However, it is trendy among management staff, especially in the UK, because it is combined with appropriate training and techniques for developing healthy assertiveness in the work environment. The book in which this test is available is itself a comprehensive tool for working on assertiveness.

How is the Anni Townend Test constructed?

As the name suggests, this questionnaire consists of 80 questions-statements to which we can answer YES or NO. We always have to take a side, even if the answer is "sometimes" or "kind of YES." For the sake of the total test result, no answer may be omitted.

After collecting all the answers, we go to the table that allows us to assign the "YES" answers to each of the four categories. The number of YES answers in each category shows our dominant attitude. If it is 14 or more in a given category, this is our preferred type of behavior.

The test takes no more than 30 minutes.

What can you do with your 80-question test results?

The results of this test can be best transformed into specific actions if we have access to Anni Townend's book. This original approach to diagnosing assertiveness is directly related to the content of subsequent chapters of the book.


If you want to test your level of assertiveness using a reliable, scientifically verified questionnaire - use the Rathus Test. If you want the test results to translate into effective actions - perform this test under the supervision of a qualified specialist and discuss in detail the conclusions drawn from it.

If you are a business leader and are looking for a practical tool for regular self-testing and developing your assertiveness - use Anni Townend's book.


Rathus, S. A. (1973). A 30-item schedule for assessing assertive behavior. Behavior Therapy, 4(3), pp. 398–406. doi: 10.1016/s0005-7894(73)80120-0

Thompson, R. J. and Berenbaum, H. (2011). Adaptive and aggressive assertiveness scales (AAA-S). Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 33(3), pp. 323–334. doi: 10.1007/s10862-011-9226-9

Gustafson, R. (1992). A Swedish psychometric test of the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule. Psychological Reports, 71(6), p. 479. doi: 10.2466/pr0.71.6.479-482.

Anni Townend, "Developing Assertiveness (Self-Development for Managers)",

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