Measuring Dyadic Adjustment: new scales for assessing the quality of marriage and similar dyads

Graham B Spanier

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5022 Scopus citations


This study reports on the development of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale, a new measure for assessing the quality of marriage and other similar dyads. The 32 item scale is designed for use with either married or unmarried cohabiting couples. Despite widespread criticisms of the concept of adjustment, the study proceeds from the pragmatic position that a new measure, which is theoretically grounded, relevant, valid, and highly reliable, is necessary since marital and dyadic adjustment continue to be researched. This factor analytic study tests a conceptual definition set forth in earlier work and suggests the existence of four empirically verified components of dyadic adjustment which can be used as subscales [dyadic satisfaction, dyadic cohesion, dyadic consensus and affectional expression]. Evidence is presented suggesting content, criterion related, and construct validity. High scale reliability is reported. The possibility of item weighting is considered and endorsed as a potential measurement technique, but it is not adopted for the present Dyadic Adjustment Scale. It is concluded that the Dyadic Adjustment Scale represents a significant improvement over other measures of marital adjustment, but a number of troublesome methodological issues remain for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-28
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1976

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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