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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.

gov/pmc/articles/PMC2788300/

The Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976) is the most widely used inventory o relationship satis action in the social sciences, yet the !uestion o whether it is measurin" the same concept in men and women has never #een addressed$ The current study e%amined the actor structure o the DAS in a sample o 9&& currently married couples who participated in the 'innesota Twin (amily Study$ )on irmatory actory analysis was applied to a second*order actor solution with Spanier+s our actors ()onsensus, Satis action, )ohesion, A ectional ,%pression) loadin" on one, hi"her*order actor (Adjustment) to test or measurement invariance across "ender$ The second*order solution was relatively invariant across "ender, even when ta-in" into account the non* independent nature o the data$ This su""ests that the #est conceptuali.ation o the DAS is one o a "ender*invariant measure o marital adjustment with our distinct su# actors, and that di erences #etween men and women on any o these constructs can #e interpreted #y #oth clinicians and researchers as true mean di erences rather than measurement #ias$ Keywords: marria"e, adjustment, actor, measurement invariance The Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS/ Spanier, 1976) is currently the most widely utili.ed sel *report measure o relationship adjustment1 in the social and #ehavioral sciences$ A 01*item measure developed or married couples or similar dyads, it can #e employed in sel *report or interview ormat$ Almost 1& years a"o, its author noted than it had #een used in more than 1,&&& studies #y that point (Spanier, 1922), and its use has only continued to "row$ (or e%ample, the DAS o ten serves as a dependent measure o marital satis action (e$"$, in marital therapy outcome studies, )hristensen, At-ins, 3erns, 4heeler, 3aucom, 5 Simpson, 1&&6/ 4hisman 5 7aco#son, 1991) or to classi y 8distressed9 vs$ 8nondistressed9 couples in marital interaction tas- research (e$"$, )rane, All"ood, :arson, 5 ;ri in, 199&/ ,ddy, <eyman, 5 4eiss, 1991)$ Spanier+s (1976) ori"inal actor analysis o the DAS identi ied our su#scales, which he advised could each #e used independently= Dyadic )onsensus, Dyadic Satis action, Dyadic )ohesion, and A ectional ,%pression$ To date, research "enerally supports the internal consistency o three o these actors, with the e%ception o A ectional ,%pression (;raham, :iu, 5 7e.iors-i, 1&&6)$ <owever, as others have noted, the DAS remains an under*researched instrument psychometrically (Sa#ourin, :ussier, :aplante, 5 4ri"ht, 199&/ Sa#ourin, >alois, 5 :ussier, 1&&?)$ The actor structure o the DAS has #een e%amined in only 11 studies over the past 0& years$ (urther, in every study that included #oth men and women, data were analy.ed separately #y "ender/ none has speci ically e%amined whether the actor structure o the DAS is invariant across "ender$ @sin" an e%tension o con irmatory actor analysis to test or measurement invariance is an important step to ta-e #e ore concludin" that an inventory li-e the DAS is measurin" the same concept in men and women ((loyd 5 4idaman, 199?)$ A the DAS is not invariant across "ender, then dissimilarity #etween men and women may #e due to either true "ender di erences or #ias in the instrument$

,ddy et al$ (1991) reviewed the actor analytic studies o the DAS to that point, identi yin" 1& journal articles that predominantly used e%ploratory actor modelin"$ A majority supported Spanier+s ori"inal solution or a variation thereo $ (or instance, Spanier and Thompson (1921) con irmed a our* actor solution, #ut ound that the Satis action scale lost several o the more 8positive9 sentiment items and the A ectional ,%pression scale contained small loadin"s rom several items comprisin" the other three actors$ <owever, when deviations rom Spanier+s ori"inal solution arise, there is no "eneral consistency across studies$ Two studies report a three* actor solution in women, althou"h the actors di er in the mi%ture o items loadin" on the actors (Anthill and )otton, 1921/ Sa#ourin, 3ouchard, 4ri"ht, :ussier, 5 3oucher, 1922)$ 'oreover, the authors o one study determined there was poor support or the )onsensus scale in a nondistressed sample and the Satis action actor in distressed and nondistressed samples ()rane, 3us#y, 5 :arson, 1991)$ (uther, studies usin" #oth ,(A (Ba.a-, 7armas, 5 Snit.er, 1922/ Sharpley 5 )ross, 1921) and )(A (Antill 5 )otton, 1921/ Spanier 5 Thompson, 1921) have concluded that the DAS is #est interpreted as measurin" one "eneral actor o adjustment$ Three studies have speci ically e%amined the !uestion o whether the DAS is #est conceptuali.ed as a unidimensional measure o relationship !uality, or a multidimensional measure o several acets o adjustment$ ,ddy et al$ (1991) tested a series o nested models usin" one o the lar"est samples to dateCover 10&& men and 1?&& women$ They compared a model in which Spanier+s ori"inal our actors loaded on one hi"her*order actor with a series o increasin"ly restrictive multidimensional models$ All multidimensional models it the data #etter than the unidimensional model, and supported the conception o the DAS as a measure o 8adjustment9, one component o which is satis action$ These results are compara#le to Sa#ourin et al$ (199&), who rejected a one* actor unidimensional model in avor o a hi"her*order model with a 1 nd*order actor overlayin" our 1st order actors (with loadin"s correspondin" to Spanier+s ori"inal solution)$ Burde- (1991) also ound support or a our* actor model (where all actors were allowed to correlate #ut there was no hi"her*order actor) in samples o hus#ands and wives and homose%ual partners/ this indin" was replicated across three additional time points in the married sample$ Dota#ly, none o the previous actor analyses o the DAS have directly compared actor solutions across "ender$ 4hether the DAS measures the same concept in men and women and can there ore #e interpreted in the same manner in #oth "roups is there ore un-nown$ ,sta#lishin" measurement invariance is an important part o demonstratin" the psychometric ade!uacy o any measure$ At determines whether the same construct is #ein" assessed across di erent "roups, and is an essential prere!uisite or the comparison o "roups with respect to a latent varia#le ('eredith, 1990/ 4idaman 5 Eeise, 1997)$ The method o e%aminin" measurement invariance in a )(A ramewor- is well esta#lished at this point (see >anden#ur" 5 :ance, 1&&& or a review, see also :u#-e, Dolan, Belderman, 5 'ellen#er"h, 1&&0/ 4idaman 5 Eeise, 1997)$ An this type o analysis, a series o increasin"ly strict constraints are placed on the model parameters to test the e!uality o the solution across men and women$ ;iven that the

multidimensional, second*order actor model o the DAS has received the "reatest support in the literature, we decided to test whether this model demonstrates measurement invariance #etween men and women$ A invariance is ound, then "roup di erences on the DAS total scale and su#scale scores would re lect actual di erences in marital adjustment #etween men and women rather than an arti act o measurement #ias$ Go to:

Method
Participants

Fur sample consisted o hus#ands and wives drawn rom the amilies who participated in the 'innesota Twin (amily Study ('T(S), a lon"itudinal, epidemiolo"ical study investi"atin" the "enetic and environmental contri#utions to su#stance a#use and related psychopatholo"y$ Same*se% twin pairs reared #y their #iolo"ical parents were identi ied #y 'innesota pu#lic #irth records, located throu"h the use o pu#lic data#ases, and recruited to visit when the twins were either 11 or 17$ 'ale twins and their parents visited the study or inta-e assessment rom 199&G1996 (11 year old cohort) and 199&G199? (17 year old cohort), while emale twins and their parents attended inta-e in 1990G1996 (#oth cohorts)$ F those amilies who were eli"i#le or the study, 17$0H declined participation$ (amilies were e%cluded rom participation i the twins had #een adopted, i they had a physical or intellectual disa#ility that precluded completin" the daylon", in* person assessment, or i they lived more than a day+s drive rom 'inneapolis$ All participants were "iven an e%planation and rationale or the study and written in ormed assentIconsent was o#tained$ Additional in ormation re"ardin" the recruitment and desi"n o the 'T(S can #e ound elsewhere (Aacono, )arlson, Taylor, ,l-ins, 5 'c;ue, 1999)$ The sample or the current study consisted o the #iolo"ical mothers and athers o twins rom #oth cohorts who were married to each other and completed the DAS at inta-e$ This e%cluded any stepparents who completed the DAS re"ardin" their current spouse (i$e$, a #iolo"ical parent)$ These were "enerally lon"*term marria"es (i$e$, couples had to survive intact until their children reached either 11 or 17 years old)$ There were a total o 9&& married couples who completed the DAS at inta-e$ Jarticipants included in the inal analyses consisted o 9&& women (a"ed 12 to ?9, M K 61, SD K ?$16) and 9&& men (a"ed 12 to 66, M K 66, SD K ?$26)$ 'ean years o education were 16 (SDK1$91) or the wives and 16 (SDK1$0) or the hus#ands$ )onsistent with 'innesota demo"raphics or the #irth years sampled, 99H o the mothers and athers were )aucasian$
Dyadic Adjustment Scale

Jarticipants completed the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS/ Spanier, 1976) appraisin" their marital satis action over the precedin" 11 months$ As noted a#ove, the ori"inal our su#scales o the DAS are= Dyadic )onsensus (10 items/ de"ree to which they a"ree or

disa"ree on a num#er o issues)/ Dyadic Satis action (1& items/ aspects related to perceived sta#ility o the marria"e and how i"hts are handled)/ A ectional ,%pression (6 items/ assessin" de"ree o a"reement on how a ection is e%pressed)/ and Dyadic )ohesion (? items/ re!uency o positive interactions #etween the couple)$
Statistical Analyses

3ased on indin"s rom previous studies, we tested the measurement invariance o a multidimensional, second*order model in which Spanier+s ori"inal our actors ()onsensus, Satis action, )ohesion, and A ectional ,%pression) all loaded on one, hi"her*order actor$ Second*order models are applica#le in situations, as has #een proposed or the DAS, when a hi"her*order actor is hypothesi.ed to e%plain the relations amon" lower*order actors ()hen, Sousa, 5 4est, 1&&?)$ The items o the DAS are either :i-ert*type (e$"$, &G?/ 0& items) or Dichotomous (e$"$, LesIDo/ 1 items), so to handle the non*normal distri#ution o the DAS items, 'plus+s (>ersion ?$&, 'uthen 5 'uthen, 1&&7) wei"hted least s!uare mean variance estimation method (wei"hted least s!uare parameter estimates usin" a dia"onal wei"ht matri% and ro#ust standard errors and a mean* and variance*adjusted chi*s!uare test statistic/ 4:S'>) was used to evaluate the invariance models$ 3ecause a small percenta"e o participants was missin" DAS data or individual items (mean per item K $61H, ran"e &G1$7H or wives/ mean per item K $26H, ran"e $1G6$&H or hus#ands) we used ull*in ormation modelin" o missin" data, a procedure that produces more relia#le in erences when compared to other options (e$"$ listwise deletion) or missin" data (,nders, 1&&1)$ Di erent authors have articulated their own procedures or conductin" tests o measurement invariance in a )(A ramewor- (>anden#ur" 5 :ance, 1&&&), althou"h the series o steps is similar across studies and there is consistency in how the steps are carried out$ 4e "enerally ollowed the outline o 'uthen and 'uthen (1&&7) in testin" our series o increasin"ly restrictive models, with some variations to account or special circumstances o measurement invariance o a second*order structure (3yrne 5 Stewart, 1&&6/ )hen et al$, 1&&?)$ To account or possi#le non*independence o the data (i$e$, #oth spouses are reportin" on the same marria"e), we modeled the data at the couple level (i$e$, #oth hus#ands and wives were on the same line o data)$ The actor model or hus#ands and wives was connected throu"h a correlation #etween the hi"her*order latent actors$ Speci ically, we used the structural e!uations #etween the hi"her*order latent actors to connect the hi"her*order dimensional )(A model ( our lower*order actors, one hi"her*order actor) o#tained or men and women$ 4e then imposed our invariance constraints on top o this #aseline model$ 4e #e"an #y testin" invariance o orm, or whether the same items are indicators or the same actor (or actors) across "ender (<orn 5 'cArdle, 1991)$ An e!uivalent pattern o i%ed and ree loadin"s was speci ied or the items across "roups, and the thresholds and actor loadin"s were le t ree to vary$ An the second step, we tested or invariance o the irst*order actor loadin"s$ Third, we added the constraint o invariant actor loadin"s o the our lower*order actors on the second*order actor$ (ourth, the thresholds (owin" to the cate"orical nature o the

o#served varia#les) were constrained across hus#ands and wives$ (inally, we tested the mean di erences #etween the latent actors across "ender$ To investi"ate the "oodness o it o the )(A models, we evaluated the chi*s!uare statistic, the comparative it inde% ()(A), the Tuc-er*:ewis Ande% (T:A), and the root mean s!uare error o appro%imation (E'S,A)$ 4hen 4:S'> is used, the di erence in chi*s!uare values or nested models is not distri#uted as chi*s!uare, and it is necessary to use the DA((T,ST option o the SA>,DATA command in 'plus to calculate di erence in chi*s!uare$ A the chi*s!uare di erence value (M1) is si"ni icant when comparin" two nested models, it su""ests that the constraints do not hold (i$e$, the two models are not e!uivalent across "roups)$ 3ecause the chi*s!uare di erence value can #e very sensitive to sample si.e and non*normality, such that lar"e samples o ten return statistically si"ni icant chi*s!uare values ()heun" 5 Eensvold, 1&&1/ <u 5 3entler, 1990), other criteria or it were used$ The )(A and T:A compare the hypothesi.ed model with a more restricted, #aseline model$ An "eneral, )(A and T:A values a#ove $9? are desira#le (<u 5 3entler, 1992), althou"h values rom $9& to $9? may indicate accepta#le model it (3entler, 199&)$ )heun" and Eensvold (1&&1) also su""ested that the chan"e in )(A values #etween nested models should not e%ceed $&1$ The E'S,A is a measure o the error o appro%imation o the speci ied model covariance and mean structures to the covariance and mean structures in the population$ 4e adopted the criteria o E'S,A o $ &2 or #elow as demonstratin" an ade!uate it (3rowne 5 )udec-, 1990)$ Go to:

Results
'eans, standard deviations, and relia#ility estimates o each su#scale and total DAS score are presented in Ta#le 1 or #oth hus#ands and wives$ As shown in this ta#le, on avera"e the hus#ands and wives in this study are reportin" that they are relatively ree o major relationship concerns$ This was a lar"ely nondistressed sample, as shown #y the act that 11H o women and 11H o men scored #elow 1&&, the cut*o identi ied #y Spanier (1976) to distin"uish distressed rom nondistressed couples, and 17H o #oth women and men ell #elow the cut*o o 97 used #y 7aco#son et al$ (1926)$ Anternal consistency was accepta#le, ran"in" rom $71 or the A ectional ,%pression scale or hus#ands to $90 or the DAS total score or #oth hus#ands and wives$

Ta#le 1

DAS Descriptive Statistics and Anternal )onsistency #y ;ender


Factorial Invariance Models

A hierarchical series o nested models was applied to the second*order, our* actor model, with each step #uildin" on and -eepin" the constraints rom the previous model 1$ The results o the tests o invariance across "ender are shown in Ta#le 1$ The irst type o invariance tested, orm (also -nown as con i"ural, see 'eredith, 1990), holds the ewest num#er o parameters e!ual across "ender$ (or invariance o orm, the actor structure (i$e$, the pattern o i%ed and ree loadin"s) was constrained across "ender, while the actor loadin"s were allowed to di er$ As shown, the invariance o orm model produced ade!uate it statistics or the second*order actor model, althou"h )(A values were somewhat lower than accepted "uidelines$

Ta#le 1 Eesults o 'easurement Anvariance Tests or the Second*order 'odel o the Dyadic Adjustment Scale across ;ender The ne%t step tested or actor loadin" invariance o the irst*order actors$ This test o invariance provided a "ood it, with a non*si"ni icant chan"e in chi*s!uare and improvement in E'S,A, )(A, and T:A$ An the third step, e!uality constraints were placed on the hi"her*order actor loadin", while maintainin" constraints on the lower*order actor loadin"s$ This model also it the data well$ The ourth step tested invariance o the thresholds lin-in" the o#served items to the latent actors$ This test o invariance resulted in a si"ni icant chi*s!uare test as compared to the previous model$ (ollowin" modi ication indices in 'plus, we allowed the thresholds o Atem ?, Atem 11, and Atem 01 to vary across "ender$ This resulted in improved, #ut still si"ni icant, chi*s!uare di erence rom 'odel 0$ <owever, this model still it well accordin" to E'S,A and T:A/ as with 'odels 1 and 0, )(A was somewhat low #ut still within the accepta#le ran"e, thus we continued to the ne%t sta"e o invariance testin"$ The ne%t step in invariance testin" is to test or mean di erences in the lower order actors o )onsensus, Satis action, )ohesion, and A ectional ,%pression$ The means o the our lower*order latent actors or the re erence "roup (here, wives) were set to & and reely estimated or hus#ands$ <us#ands were si"ni icantly lower on the )onsensus actor ($1& standard deviations #elow women/ ZKN 1$16 pO$&?) and the A ectional ,%pression actor ($10 standard deviations/ ZKN1$66, pO$&1)$ >alues on the )ohesion and Satis action actor were not si"ni icantly di erent or hus#ands and wives$ An the inal step, we tested "roup di erences on the hi"her*order actor o Adjustment$ At was

necessary to constrain the lower*order actor intercepts to .ero or #oth "roups (3yrne 5 Stewart, 1&&6)$ A"ain, the latent actor mean was set to .ero or wives, and the latent mean or hus#ands was estimated$ There was no si"ni icant di erence #etween hus#ands and wives$ The hi"her*order Eelationship Adjustment actor was correlated $61 #etween hus#ands and wives$ Go to:

Discussion
This study adds to the literature on the structure o relationship satis action as it is measured #y the Dyadic Adjustment Scale$ (indin"s rom tests o measurement invariance in the conte%t o )(A demonstrated support or actorial invariance across "ender$ (actor invariance esta#lishes that the latent varia#les operate in the same manner to produce the same -ind o measurement under di erent conditions (i$e$, "ender)$ This orm o measurement invariance is an important test o construct validation$ <avin" esta#lished invariance o the DAS across "ender, we can conclude that any di erences #etween men and women can #e interpreted as arisin" rom actual di erences in relationship adjustment, not that the instrument is measurin" di erent concepts in the two "roups$ At appears that Spanier+s (1976) ori"inal conception o relationship adjustment applies e!ually well to men and women$ Di erences ound #etween men and women on this scale most li-ely represent true "ender di erencesC whether in the e ectiveness o marital therapy, or in the relationship to la#*#ased interaction studiesCrather than di erent constructs #ein" measured #y the same instrument$ Eesults o this study also provide clinicians with "reater in ormation a#out an assessment instrument that can and should #e put to "reater use in applied settin"s$ An "eneral, a majority o marital and amily therapists tend not to utili.e standardi.ed assessment measures in their practices (3ou"hner, <ayes, 3u#en.er, 5 4est, 1996/ )hun, )o##, 5 (rench, 197?)$ The reasons or this underutili.ation o measures is unclear/ the sheer num#er o availa#le instruments may #e overwhelmin" (Touliatos, Jerlmutter, Straus, 5 <olden, 1&&1)$ Fther possi#le reasons include time constraints, un amiliarity with scorin", or uncertainty a#out applica#ility to their patient population$ The DAS is a relatively #rie measure that can #e ound in major source#oo-s o amily assessment instruments (e$"$, Touliatos et al$, 1&&1)$ And as shown in the current study, practitioners can have "reater con idence that the DAS will provide clinical utility e!ually well or men and women$ The level o invariance ound or the DAS increases the con idence that when mean di erences are ound #etween men and women, they represent true "ender di erences$ )ertainly, we reali.e that this sample was relatively hi"h in relationship satis action, and these indin"s should #e replicated in clinical samples o distressed couples$ An choosin" a sel *report inventory or couple assessment, therapists need to #e a#le to rely on the act that the measure they choose can #e interpreted across #oth mem#ers o the couple$ The indin"s o the current study o er preliminary support or the DAS as such a measure$

This study has certain limitations that should #e addressed$ (irst, the )(A values o the #est ittin" measurement invariance models were lower than what some (<u 5 3entler, 1992) have recommended as a cuto (i$e$,$9?), althou"h )(A did improve with increasin" restrictions, reachin" $90 or the #est ittin" models in Ta#le 1$ Eesearch su""ests that the )(A "enerally tends to worse as the num#er o varia#les in the model increases (Benny 5 'c)oach, 1&&0), and there were 66 o#served varia#les in these measurement invariance models$ (urther, other it indices (E'S,A, T:A) showed "ood it and invariance across men and women with increasin"ly strict parameter constraints$ )learly, additional worneeds to #e done to investi"ate how various it inde%es per orm in di erent situations/ in particularly, which it inde%es are most appropriate or measurement invariance o second*order models ()hen et al$, 1&&?)$ Second, the sample was primarily )aucasian and airly homo"enous in terms o education level$ 3oth culture and education may a ect an individual+s interpretation o the DAS items, and thus our results should #e replicated in more ethnically and socio*economically diverse samples$ 'oreover, while a majority o our sample was #etween the a"es o 0&G6? (6?H), the ran"e o the total sample was !uite lar"e$ 4hile previous wor- has ound that a"e did not a ect the sta#ility o the DAS ()arey, Spector, :antin"a, 5 Brauss, 1990), to our -nowled"e there has #een no worinvesti"atin" the measurement invariance o the DAS across a"e$ This is a "ood area or potential uture research$ Fur study provides valua#le in ormation re"ardin" the concept o satis action across "ender as measured #y the DAS$ To our -nowled"e, this is the irst study to e%amine actorial invariance #etween men and women on the DAS, one o the ew studies to e%amine "ender di erences, and one o only a hand ul o con irmatory actor analytic studies o this measure$ Fther areas o in!uiry or research include applyin" the measurement invariance procedures utili.ed here in the comparison #etween married and datin" samples, across di erent a"e ran"es, or #etween romantic partners rom di erent races, ethnic "roups, or countries$ An con irmin" that the instrument is measurin" the same concept (relationship adjustment) in men and women, we provide continued support or the use o this measure in research and clinical settin"s$

(i"ure 1 Jath dia"ram o the "ender invariance model with correlated hi"her*order actors #etween hus#ands and wives$ Go to:

Footnotes

The terms relationship satisfaction, quality, adjustment, happiness, consensus, intimacy, etc. are often used interchangeably in the marriage and romantic relationship literature. In this paper, we will use the term adjustment to refer to an overall measure of current relationship functioning and success, including each spouse s satisfaction and dissatisfaction with their partner.
!

"or space constraints, the full variance#covariance matrices used for the measurement invariance models are not reported here$ however, they are available upon request from the first author.

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