The Relationship Closeness Inventory (RCI) | Psychology Resource Centre
Berscheid, E., Snyder, M., & Omoto, A. M. (). The Relationship Closeness Inventory: Assessing the closeness of interpersonal relationships. Journal of. Compendia: CT-TASK Page: Type: Test. Subject(s): Relationship Quality. Details: Notes: Author: Berscheid. Snyder & Omoto (). Which can also be seen as mental instability, or a specific type of relationship which is very unhealthy and has two people relying on each other.
We provide a comprehensive evaluation of the 'Inclusion of the Other in the Self' IOS Scale, a handy pictorial tool for measuring the subjectively perceived closeness of a relationship. The tool is highly portable, very easy for subjects to understand and takes less than 1 minute to administer.
We conclude that the IOS Scale is a psychologically meaningful and highly reliable measure of the subjective closeness of relationships. Introduction An important fact of social life is that people have social relationships that vary in closeness. Most people have some close relationship to a romantic partner, a few friends and family, somewhat looser relationships with other friends and even looser ones with numerous acquaintances.
If such relationships are a fact of social life, how then do relationships matter for social behavior and social preferences? We suggest these important issues provoke a prior question of how the perceived closeness of a relationship, which is a subjective judgment, can be measured.
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In this paper, we hope to make some progress in answering this prior question by evaluating in three studies a simple pictorial measurement instrument, called the 'Inclusion of the Other in the Self' Scale, by Aron et al.
The question, of how social relationships matter for social behavior, is the ultimate motivation underlying our interest, as behavioral scientists, in the measurement of relationships. For a long time many economists and other social scientists used the homo economicus assumption to explain social behavior. Behavioral research in the last three decades has changed one aspect of this picture profoundly by demonstrating that many people have strong other-regarding preferences [ 2 — 5 ].
However, much of this research abstracts from the social relationships people actually have and measures social preferences towards unidentified, anonymous other people. Thus, relationship closeness is disregarded even if other-regarding motives matter strongly. Similarly, behavioral investigations of strategic thinking largely disregard the psychological nature of the relationships among individuals and, in experiments, usually only study anonymous agents and their interactions.
Williams zyxwvut Social exchange theory Kelley and Thibaut, offers a compelling dexrip- tion of interpersonal relationships, their development, and their maintenance.
By this account, close relationships are organized on the basis of interdepen- dence in the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of participants Kelley and oth- ers, Considerable research supports the notion that interdependence plays a key role in adult mmantic and marital relationships see Clark and Reis,for review. Less is known, however, about interdependence within other relationships and during other age periods. This investigation describes changes in important markers of interdependence across the adolescent years, extending social exchange theory to developmental variations in family and peer relationships.
Of particular interest are age-related alterations in relation- ships and the extent to which participation in a romantic relationship is asso- ciated with different patterns of interdependencewith family members and friends. Support for the preparation of thischapter was provided by a grant to Brett Laursen from the U.
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Special thanks to David G. An emphasis on process distinguishes interdepen- dence frameworksfrom frameworks oriented toward the type of resources pro- vided by a relationship Foa, and the affective correlates afforded by affiliation Rubin, Social exchange theory is predicated on the notion that individuals seek to maximize positive outcomes in relationships Kelley and Thibaut, Mutually beneficial exchanges promote interdependence as participants come to rely on one another for rewards.
In close relationships, zy interdependence is evident in frequent, strong, and diverse interconnections bemeen participants Kelley and others, These interconnections, which provide an objective index of interdependence, feature prominently in con- temporary measures of the construct. Consistent with this research tradition, the work described in this chapter assays interdependence in terms of partic- ipant interconnections.
Relationships differ in the degree to which interdependenceis salient. Com- munal and exchange relationships entail different types of interdependence Clark and Mills, Communal relationships, with romantic partners, fam- ily members, and friends, assume mutual need fulfillment, regardless of imbal- ance in the costs and benefits accruing to participants.
Exchange relationships, with classmates, neighbors, and business associates, assume equitable costs and zy benefits, regardless of imbalance in participant needs. Voluntary and involuntary relationships differ in terms of the significanceof interdependence Berscheid, In voluntary associations, with friends and romantic partners, interde- pendence is a primary concern because participants are free to dissolve inequitable relationships.
In involuntary associations, with family members, customs and law often take precedence over interdependence considerations. Horizontal and vertical relationships, which H e r in terms of reciprocity and the distribution of power, entail distinct processes of social exchange Hartup and Laursen, In horizontal relationships, with friends, romantic partners, and classmates,participants must agree on exchange outcomes, which tends to encourage equity In vertical relationships,with parents, teachers, and employ- ers, one participant may unilaterally determine exchange outcomes, which sug- gests that equity is not an overriding concern.
Manifestations of interdependence vary across relationships. College stu- dents and adults report greater interdependence in communal than in exchange relationships Argyle and Fumham, ; Berscheid, Snyder, and Omoto, b.
Children evaluate social exchange requirements in voluntary and horizontal relationships differently than in involuntary and vertical rela- tionshps, behaving in a manner consistent with these evaluations Graziano, Musser, Rosen, and Shaffer, This evidence suggests that voluntary, hor- izontal, and communal relationships are guided by principles of social exchange, whereas other types of relationships appear to be organized accord- ing to different priorities.
Developmental alterations are anticipated as adolescent interdependence shiftsfrom the family to peers. Expectations formed by children about interdependent relationships are typically reconsidered during adolescence 5 Collins and Repinski, The emergence of close friendships and roman- tic relationships coincideswith adolescent identity development and the nor- zyxw mative push for autonomy from parents; these factors create strong social pressures to revise patterns of social interaction Brown, in press.Facebook Poking
Alterations zyxw are also anticipated in adolescent social exchanges as environmentalconstraints on peer relationships decline; less adult supervision produces greater interde- pendence among friends and romantic partners as interconnections expand Laursen, Increasingexperience in and awareness of peer relationships should change parent-child relationships as preferences for reciprocal social exchanges create pressures for vertical relationshipsto realign in a manner that resembles horizontal relationships Youniss, As noted earlier, interdependencepresumes frequent, diverse, and influ- ential exchanges Kelley and others, Although developmentalresearch has yet to examine interdependence directly, several studies of its constituent components indicate change in adolescent relationships.
Companionship and the amount of time spent with parents, siblings, and same-sex hends decreases across adolescence, whereas that with opposite-sex friends increases Clark- Lempers, Lempers, and Ho, ; Larson and Richards, Control and unilateral influence by parents and same-sex friends peak in early to mid- adolescence; shared and mutual influence in these relationships increase across adolescence Hunter and Youniss, Perceived power relative to parents declines across adolescence, power relative to siblings and same-sex friends increases across adolescence, and power relative to romantic partners remains unchanged Furman and Buhrmester, Budding on these developmental depictions, the present investigation aims to expand depictions of interconnections in adolescent relationships and to determine the extent to which participation in romantic relationships is associated with different patterns of interdependencein relationships with fam- ily members and friends.
Using an instrument specifically designed to assess interdependence-the Relationship Closeness Inventory RCI Berscheid and others, b -interconnections between participants in a relationship are described along three dimensions: Interdependence is operationally defined as the sum of standardized scores for each variable.
As a paper-and-pencil measure of uni- lateral perceptions of the relationship, the instrument provides a rough approx- imation of interdependence. The questionnaire differs from others applied to adolescent relationships in that affect is not conflated with interconnectedbehaviors, and the frequency,diver- sity, and influence of social exchanges are assessed concurrently. Adolescents eleven to nineteen years old described closeness and aspects of interdependence with mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, and romantic part- zyxwv ners.
Three questions are addressed in this study: Do relationship interdependence and closeness differ across adolescence? Although this is one of the first investigations of adolescent interdependence as operationalized in the RCIdata from other sources Furman and Buhrmester, ; Larson and Richards, suggest that indices of com- panionship such as social interaction and activity diversity and closeness with family members should decline, while that with friends and romantic partners should increase.
Do adolescents with romantic partners report less interdependence and close- ness with family and friends than adolescents without romantic partners? Little is known about how romantic relationships alter other adolescent relationships, although some researchers have suggested that closeness and companionship with family members and friends must inevitably decline as the salience of romantic relationships increases Brown, in press.
Do adolescents perceive relationships with the greatest levels of interdepen- dence to be their closest relationships? Research suggests that objectively defined reports of adult interdependence differ somewhat from the more subjective experience of closeness Berscheid, Snyder, and Omoto, a ; a similar set of distinct but overlapping impressions of relationship interdependence and closeness are expected during adolescence.
Method zy A measure of interdependence originally developed for college students was zyxwvu administered to a sample of adolescentsranging from eleven to nineteen years old. One of the first studies to assess interdependence and closeness in ado- lescent relationships, this study provides support for the validity of a modified RCI that may be used with younger populations.
The participants were males and females Anglo Americans from rural New England public schools. All students attending homerooms and study halls twelfth graders were overrepresented in the latter, seventh graders in the former were invited to participate.
Rates of participation ranged from 48 percent to 67 percent. Thus the final subject pool included adolescents com- pleting questionnairesdescribing two parents, a sibling, and a friend. Of these 7 participants, lived with a mother or stepmotherlived with a father zyxwvu or stepfatherand lived with a sibling or stepsibling. This sample of included reports describing three stepmothers, twenty-nine stepfathers, and eighteen stepsiblings.
The proportion of adolescents with a romantic partner was similar for males Rates of participation in a romantic relationship increased from During a single class period, groups of adolescents completed five counterbalanced versions of a modified RCI Berscheid, Snyder, and Omoto, bone each for mothers or stepmothersfathers or stepfa- zyx thersclosest age siblings or stepsiblings ,same-sex best friends, and roman- tic partners.
Adolescents were instructed to skip questionnaires concerning relationships in which they did not participate. Each RCI contained three sub- scales: Six original items were modified for use with adolescent subjects: Items were scored on a seven-point scale rang- ing from strongly disagree 1 to strongly agree 7. Four original items were zyxw modified for use with adolescent subjects: Intercorrelations indicated that the three subscales were only modestly associated.
For mothers, activity diversity was linked to interaction frequency 7. In sum, the num- ber of different weekly activities was associated with the amount of daily social interaction and the level of perceived influence in each adolescent relation- ships, but influence and social interaction were linked only in relationships with fathers and romantic partners. Interdependence was defined as the sum of converted scores for interaction frequency, activity diversity, and influence strength.
Raw scores on these sub- scales were converted to a standard ten-point scale and summed range: For each subject, the relationship with the greatest total score was desig- nated interdependent Berscheid, Snyder, and Omoto, b.
All of the rela- tionships included in this survey contained some degree of interdependence, so this label is shorthand for the relationship with the most interdependence as measured by the RCI. Closeness describes responses to a checklist Berscheid, Snyder, and Omoto, a containing twelve relationships mother, father, sibling, best zyxwv friend, romantic partner, teacher, aunt or uncle, cousin, grandparent, coach or extracurricular activity sponsor, employer, and coworker.
For each subject, the relationship selected as the closest identify the person with whom you have the closest, deepest, most involved and most intimate relationship was designated close.
All of the relationships included in this survey contained some degree of closeness, so this label is shorthand for subject reports of the perceived closest relationship. Concordance describes the match between individual reports of close and interdependent relationships.
Agreement indicates that both measures identi- fied the same relationship, disagreementindicates that different close and inter- dependent relationships emerged.
The first analyses describe characteristics of interde- pendence.
Relationship Closeness Inventory
MANOVAs multipleanaly-zy zy ses of variance and ANOVAs analyses of variance determine grade, sex,and 9 romantic partner status differences in the interaction frequency, activity diver- sity, and influence strength of adolescent relationships. Degre of freedom are adjusted conservatively from approximately 1, to ; repeated mea- sures analyses, substituting the number of subjects minus the number of con- zyx ditions for the larger number of subjects multiplied by the number of conditions.
Degrees of freedom differ slightly because of variations in missing zyxwvut data. These comparisonsexamine whether relationships identified as close and inter- dependent differ from one another, differ across grades, and differ as a func- tion of participation in romantic relationships.
Chi-square contrasts determine grade, sex, and romantic partner status difIerences in close relationships, inter- dependent relationships, and measurement concordance. The analyses were repeated three times to replicate the results reported in the text. The first repetition involved adolescents, including 54 partici- pants without a mother or stepmotherfather or stepfathersibling or stepsiblingor friend.
The second involved adolescents. The third involved 20 1 adolescents reporting biological parents and siblings, excluding 44 participants with stepmothers, stepfathers,or stepsiblings. Findings from these samplesand the adolescents with two parents, a sibling, and a friend were virtually identical. Results The first analyses quantify characteristics of interdependence in adolescent relationships, with contrasts elaborating interaction frequency, activity diver- sig and influence strength with mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, and roman- tic partners.
A repeated measures MANOVA was zyxwvu conducted with three between-subject independent variables of grade sev- enth, ninth, tenth and eleventh, and twelfthsex male and femaleand romantic partner status present and absentand one within-subject inde- pendent variable of relationships mother, father, sibling, and friend.
The three interdependence characteristics interaction frequency, activity diversity, and influence strength were the dependent variables. In each case, follow-up comparisons of relationship differ- ences involved participants in contrasts among mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends, and participants in contrasts of romantic partners with moth- ers, fathers, siblings, and friends.
An ANOVA was conducted with three between-sub- zy ject independent variables of grade, sex, and romantic partner status, and one within-subject independent variable of relationships.
Interaction frequency was the dependent variable. There was also a three- way interaction for relationships, sex, and romantic partner status, F 3. Two separate ANOVAs explored the three-way interaction of relationships, sex, and romantic partner status.
Each ANOVA entailed two between-subject independent variables of grade and sex, and one within-subject independent variable of rela- tionships.
What Is the Relationship Inventory and Is It for Real?
OOl for seventh graders, tenth and eleventh graders, and twelfth graders. Paired t-tests indicated that social interaction among seventh graders was greatest with siblings and mothers, whereas tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders reported social interaction to be most frequent with romantic partners.
Ol for males and females. Paired t-tests indicated that males reported social interaction to be most frequent with romantic partners, whereas females reported the greatest levels of social inter- action with mothers, romantic partners, and friends see Table 1. In analy- ses of adolescents without romantic partners, there were neither statistically significant main effects nor interactions involving the frequency of daily social interaction see Table 1.
Within each grnde and sex rows. To summarize, among those in romantic relationships, older adolescents and males interacted most kquently with romantic partners, whereas younger adolescents and females divided social interaction among several relationships; among adolescents without romantic relationships, there were no differences in rates of social interaction with mothers, fathers, siblings,and friends.
When scores are collapsed across grades, adolescents with- out romantic partners reported an average of almost 68 minutes more daily social interaction with family members and friends than adolescents with zyx romantic partners, which works out to an additional 6.
An ANOVA was conducted with three between-subject independent variables of grade, sex, and romantic partner status, and one within-subject independent variable of relationships. Activity diversity was the dependent variable.