Development of a measure for the assessment of dyadic power sources

Catherine Elizabeth Hansen, University of Rhode Island


The present study took several initial steps in the development of a psychometrically sound instrument for measuring the sources of power in intimate dyads. The Power Source Inventory (PSI) with some revisions, can provide a comprehensive measure of power sources.^ Recent reconceptualizations of power in intimate relationships have provided a parsimonious yet exhaustive framework for study. The multidimensional framework employed in this study has defined three primary dimensions of power: sources, processes, and outcomes. The present study was the first to refine and operationalize a definition of power sources.^ Over three hundred subjects were recruited from several sources nationally to provide a heterogeneous sample. Anonymous questionnaires were administered which included demographics, the newly developed PSI, and several published instruments to assess external construct validity of the PSI. The full instrument package took approximately an hour to complete.^ Principal Components Analyses resulted in five components which closely adhered to the theoretical framework: (1) Assertive Resourcefulness, (2) Physical Attributes, (3) Social Opportunities, (4) Education, and (5) Economic Resources.^ Although the PSI comprehensively represented the theoretical power sources and possessed strong internal validity, its external validity was not as strongly supported. Since "power source" is a relatively new construct and little research has been done on it, only preliminary steps of external construct validation were performed in the present study. Drawing on several relevant literatures, the following concepts were hypothesized to relate to power sources: relational satisfaction, sex-role egalitarianism, self and relationship schemata, decision-making, and personality dominance. Many significant relationships were found, but not always as predicted. Couple-level analyses, using calculations of balance and agreement, were also performed. Few significant and interpretable patterns, however, emerged.^ The study contributes to both marital and power literatures. There are implications for continued research--improvement and use of the instrument in marital study--and prospects for eventual clinical application. The PSI may become an important tool in the assessment and treatment of dysfunctional intimate relationships, particularly those menaced by violence. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies|Psychology, Psychometrics

Recommended Citation

Catherine Elizabeth Hansen, "Development of a measure for the assessment of dyadic power sources" (1992). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI9239561.