Relationship Efficacy Measure (REM)

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Author of Tool: 

Fincham, F.D., Harold, G., & Gano-Phillips, S.

Key references: 

Fincham, F.D., Harold, G., & Gano-Phillips, S. (2000). The longitudinal relation between attributions and marital satisfaction: Direction of effects and role of efficacy expectations. Journal of Family Psychology, 14, 267-285.

Primary use / Purpose: 

A measure of relationship efficacy


In an important theoretical statement, Doherty (1981a, 1981b) argued that conflict between intimates prompts them to engage in two cognitive processes. The first concerns attributions because it involves asking why the conflict arose. The answer to this attributional question is hypothesized to influence the second process. The second process concerns efficacy expectations or the perceiver’s belief that he or she can execute the behaviors needed to resolve the conflict. Thus, for example, a spouse who attributes a marital conflict to his or her own inability to communicate clearly his or her strongly held preferences is likely to have different efficacy expectations about resolving the conflict than a spouse who attributes the conflict to temporary work pressures that have not allowed him or her to engage the conflict with the partner. The Relationship Efficacy Scale assesses efficacy expectations and perceptions in relationships.


This measure presents respondents with four negative partner behaviors that have been found to occur in virtually all marriages (e.g., “Your spouse criticizes something you say”) and asks them to rate their agreement, on a 6-point scale ranging from 1 (disagree strongly) to 6 (agree strongly), with each of six statements that reflect causal and responsibility attribution dimensions. Reliability of the indices pertaining to each attribution type is high (average ~x = .90; average 2-week test- retest reliability = .76), and both types of attributions correlate with observed behavior independently of marital satisfaction (Fincham & Bradbury, 1992).



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