New Directions in the Psychology of Intimate Relations:
Research and Theory

Chapter 1:
The Relationship Awareness Scale:
Measuring Relational‑Consciousness,
Relational‑Monitoring, and Relational‑Anxiety

William E. Snell, Jr.
Southeast Missouri State University

 
       
Acknowledgments.  Portions of these data were presented at the Fourth International Conference on Personal Relationships, Vancouver, Canada; the 34th annual meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association, Tulsa, OK; and the 62nd annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.  Gratitude is extended to Charles S. Carver, Steve Duck, Phil Finney, Steven Franzoi, John H. Harvey, Rowland Miller, Zick Rubin, and Mark Snyder for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.  Also, gratitude is extended to XXX-Editor (xxx) and two anonymous reviewers for their peer-review commentary (this chapter was previously published in the xxxxxxx).

       
Proper citation:   Snell, W. E., Jr. (2002).  Chapter 1: The Relationship Awareness Scale: Measuring relational-consciousness, relational-monitoring, and relational-anxietyIn W. E. Snell, Jr. (Ed.).  (2002).  New directions in the psychology of intimate relations:  Research and theory. Cape Girardeau, MO: Snell Publications. WEB: http://cstl-cla.semo.edu/snell/books/intimate/intimate.htm.

     

Abstract

          Chapter 1 describes the construction and validation of the Relationship Awareness Scale, an objective self‑report instrument designed to measure three tendencies associated with intimate relationships:  relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety. Relational‑consciousness refers to people's tendency to be aware of the private nature and dynamics of their intimate relationships; relational‑monitoring refers to the tendency to be concerned with the public image of one's intimate relationship; and relational‑anxiety deals with the tendency to feel anxious, tense, and inhibited in intimate relationships.  Factor and reliability analyses confirmed the adequacy of the psychometric properties of the Relationship Awareness Scale.  Other results indicated that:  (a) women reported greater relational‑consciousness and relational‑monitoring than did men; (b) the scores on the Relationship Awareness Scale were related to self‑related attentional and anxiety measures; (c) several aspects of people's intimate relationships were associated with relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety; and (d) people higher in relational‑consciousness were more likely to incorporate salient behavioral information about their intimate relationships into their judgments of interpersonal attraction for their partners.  The discussion focuses on conceptual issues associated with relationship awareness.

 

Chapter 1:
The Relationship Awareness Scale:
Measuring Relational‑Consciousness,
Relational‑Monitoring, and Relational‑Anxiety

         When involved in a close relationship, people tend to spend time thinking about their partner and the relationship itself.  People vary of course in how self‑reflective they are about their own relationship potential and the nature of their romantic relationships.  Some people are very aware of the nature and dynamics of their intimate relationships, while others seem to be quite oblivious of what happens in their close relationships.  In addition, people seem to vary in the degree to which they are aware of others' reactions to their intimate relationships.  Some people, for example, are very concerned with the impression that their intimate relationships make on others, while others rarely give more than a passing thought to how society views their romantic relationships.  In the present program of research, these attentional tendencies concern people's disposition to be aware of and to think about their intimate relationships (cf. Acitelli, 1988, 1992; in press; Acitelli & Holmberg, 1993; Berman, 1988; Burnett, 1984, 1987; Cate, Koval & Lloyd, 1988, 1989; Collins & Clark, 1989; Martin, 1991; Noller & Venardos, 1986; Wilson & Kraft, 1993).

Relationship Awareness

         The purpose of the present program of research was to describe the concept of relationship awareness and to construct and validate a multicomponent measure of dispositional tendencies associated with relationship awareness.  The present ideas about relationship awareness were based on earlier theoretical and empirical work concerned with state and trait self‑awareness (cf. Buss, 1980; Carver & Scheier, 1981; Duval & Wicklund, 1972; Fenigstein, 1979; Fenigstein, Scheier, & Buss, 1975; Wegner & Giuliano, 1982; Wicklund, 1975, 1979, 1980).  In particular, Fenigstein et al.'s (1975) and Buss's (1980) theory of self‑consciousness (i.e., trait self‑awareness) was used as the conceptual basis for describing the present approach to relationship awareness.  According to self‑consciousness theory, people can focus their attention on either the private or the public aspects of the self.  In the case of relational‑awareness, it is assumed that people may focus their attention on either the internal private features of their intimate relationships or else on the external public impression that their intimate relationships makes on others.  The current approach to the study of relationship awareness is also similar to Wicklund's seminal work on self‑awareness (1975, 1979, 1980; Wicklund & Frey, 1980).  In his theory of objective self‑awareness, Wicklund theorized that attention may be directed either inward toward the self or else outward toward the environment.  The present ideas about relationship awareness make a similar assumption, except that it is posited that people may direct their attention inward toward the private features of their romantic relationships or else outward toward other's reactions to their intimate relationships.

         Although the present concept of relationship awareness was generated from self‑awareness theory (Wicklund, 1979, 1980) and self‑consciousness theory (Fenigstein et al., 1975; Buss, 1980), several others have previously conducted research related to the tendency to focus attention on one's intimate relationships.  Tesser and Paulhus (1976), for instance, found that people who report greater love for a close relationship partner tend to spend more time in the future thinking about their close relationships.  In a more recent investigation, Franzoi, Davis, and Young (1985) report that dispositional self‑awareness contributes to people's satisfaction with their close relationships through the mediating influence of self‑disclosure.  Acitelli (1987) also presents evidence that wives spend more time thinking about their relationships than do their husbands. Cate et al. (1989) have also investigated the concept of relationship awareness.  In a scale construction project, they developed an instrument designed to measure relationship thinking, the Relationship Consciousness Scale.  The results from their investigation indicate that females are characterized by greater relationship consciousness than are males and that while people with greater relationship consciousness have a stronger interpersonal orientation, they also report more relationship conflict.  These studies clearly indicate that relationship attentional tendencies have important implications for increasing our understanding of people's romantic relationships.

Measuring Relationship Awareness

         When people focus their attention on their intimate relationships, the focus may be on either the internal or the external aspects of that relationship.  The internal aspects of a relationship concern the interpersonal dynamics and nature of the participants' intimacy‑‑i.e., the behavioral, cognitive, and affective interaction patterns that describe their intimate relationship (cf. Acitelli & Duck, 1987, p. 305).  The external aspects of a relationship involve those features which can be observed by others.  Attention to the external aspects of a relationship concerns how people's intimate relationships appear to others, what others notice about the manner in which two partners relate to each other, and the public image that an intimate relationship creates in the minds of others.  People vary in how aware they are of the internal and external aspects of their relationships.  Relational‑consciousness is the dispositional tendency to think about the internal features of one's intimate relationship.  People who are high in relational‑consciousness introspect about their close relationships, examine their relationship moods and motives, and in general are reflective about the nature and status of their intimate relationships.

         Relational‑monitoring, by contrast, is the chronic tendency to be aware of the external, observable impression that one's romantic relationship makes on others.  It refers to an awareness of other people's reactions to one's close relationship and one's intimate partner.  People who are high in relational‑monitoring have a high degree of concern about the public impression created by their intimate relationships.  They are concerned about the social appearance of their romantic relationship and the general impression that their intimate relationship makes on others.  Quite often the social concern that people high in relational‑monitoring experience generates feelings of relational‑anxiety (Leary, 1983).  Thus, in the present program of research there was a need to focus on another dispositional tendency, relational‑anxiety People with a high degree of relational‑monitoring react to the public scrutiny of their intimate relationships with discomfort and anxiety.  They feel a certain degree of uneasiness about their potential as an intimate partner, often revealed in nervous inhibition when with an intimate partner as well as awkward, tense moments when trying to develop intimacy with another individual.  In brief, the current approach to the study of relationship awareness posits that relational‑monitoring ought to be moderately related to relational‑anxiety, defined as people's tendency to experience anxiety and uneasiness about their intimate relationships and themselves as intimate partners.

Construction of the Relationship Awareness Scale

         The purpose of the present investigation was to develop and validate an objective self‑report instrument designed to measure relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety.  Relational‑consciousness was defined as an attentional tendency to be highly aware of and to think about one's intimate relationships; relational‑monitoring was defined as an attentional tendency to be concerned with the impression that one's intimate relationship makes on others, to monitor the public appearance that an intimate relationship creates in social situations, and to be aware of the image an intimate relationship projects in social interactions with others. Relational‑anxiety, by contrast, was defined as the tendency to experience anxiety and discomfort in an intimate relationship.

         As a first step in the development of the Relationship Awareness Scale, a group of items was written and subscale designations were evaluated through the use of factor analysis.  Based on the factor analysis results, subscales were constructed to measure the concepts of relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety.  The internal consistency of each subscale was then evaluated through the use of reliability analysis (i.e., Cronbach's alpha). Test‑retest reliability was also examined in the present investigation by re‑administering the Relationship Awareness Scale to individuals four weeks after the initial administration.  Subscale interrelationships were also evaluated by computing subscale correlations.  The responses of men and women to the Relationship Awareness Scale (RAS) were then compared to explore whether gender was related to relationship awareness tendencies (cf. Cate et al., 1989; Acitelli, 1987).  In addition, a measure of social desirability (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964) was administered in order to rule out the possibility that peoples' responses to the RAS would be distorted by the tendency to respond in a socially valued manner.

Discriminant and Convergent Validity

         The convergent and discriminate validity of the Relationship Awareness Scale was evaluated by determining the association between responses to this instrument and a set of standardized measures that tap other dimensions concerned with the self and relationships.  For this purpose, the measures of relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety were examined within the context of self‑monitoring (Snyder, 1974), self‑esteem (Janis & Field, 1959), self‑consciousness (Fenigstein et al., 1975), body‑consciousness (Miller, Murphy, & Buss, 1981), relational‑thinking (Cate et al., 1988, 1989), and measures of relational‑esteem, relational‑depression, and relational‑preoccupation (Snell, 1990). 

         Evidence for the discriminant validity of the RAS was examined by studying whether self‑monitoring, defined as the tendency to be aware of one's social surroundings and peoples' reactions to oneself and to modify the impressions one creates in public settings (Snyder, 1974, 1979, 1987), would be related to the RAS scores.  The discriminant validity of the RAS would be demonstrated by the lack of a significant relationship between these two instruments, since they measure distinct concepts‑‑one concerned with relationships (i.e., the RAS) and the other concerned with the self (i.e., self‑monitoring).  Additional evidence for the discriminant validity of the Relationship Awareness Scale was also provided by examining its relationship with the Body‑Competence scale (Fenigstein et al., 1975).  Because the Body Competence scale was constructed to measure how strong and graceful people believe that their bodies are, its scores should not be related to relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, or relational‑anxiety. Thus, the discriminant validity of the RAS would be established at least partially by demonstrating the independence of the RAS subscale scores from body competency perceptions.

         The convergent validity of the Relationship Awareness Scale was studied within the context of a variety of instruments.  First, attentiveness to relationship processes requires that people have a disposition to focus attention toward the relational aspects of themselves as well as to introspect about the social aspects of themselves.  Convergent validity of two of the RAS subscales (relational‑consciousness and relational‑monitoring) would thus be demonstrated by their positive correlation with scores on the Public and Private Self‑Consciousness subscales and with scores on the Public and Private Body Consciousness subscales.  People with higher scores on relational‑consciousness and relational‑monitoring should also report higher scores on a conceptually‑related measure, the Relationship Consciousness Scale, developed by Cate et al. (1988, 1989) to measure the tendency to think about relationships.  Similarly, relational‑anxiety should be positively associated with Fenigstein et al.'s (1975) measure of social anxiety, since both subscales are concerned with interpersonal discomfort and uneasiness.

         Finally, the convergent validity of the Relationship Awareness Scale was investigated by examining its association with a measure of relational‑esteem, relational‑depression, and relational‑depression (Snell, 1990).  It was expected that the RAS measure of relational‑anxiety would be positively associated with higher levels of relational‑depression and lower levels of relational‑esteem.  These predictions were based on the rationale that both relational‑anxiety and relational‑depression involve dysphoric affects, whereas relational‑esteem involves a positive affective evaluation.  Also, it was anticipated that relational‑consciousness would be associated with higher levels of relational‑preoccupation and relational‑esteem.  This prediction was based on the rationale that because the relational‑consciousness subscale is intended to measure ordinary, normal relational‑awareness, the high scorer on this subscale would, at least in a minimal fashion, also resemble the person who tends to be obsessed with thinking about relationships.  Likewise, people who positively evaluate their capacity to relate to an intimate partner (i.e., people with greater relational‑esteem) should be more prone to think about their intimate relationships, and thus these two measures should be positively correlated.

Relationship Correlates

         To examine the convergent validity of the Relationship Awareness Scale, additional analyses were conducted to study the impact of relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety on several aspects of people's intimate relationships.  To accomplish this goal, the relationships between the three RAS subscales and the following concepts were examined: communal and exchange approaches to relationships (Clark, Ouellette, Powell, & Milberg, 1987; Clark, Taraban, Ho, & Wesner, 1989); relationship satisfaction (Hendrick, 1988); desperate love (Sperling, 1985, in press); liking and loving (Rubin, 1970, 1973); love attitudes (Hendrick & Hendrick, 1986); and several other relationship issues concerned with romantic attraction.

         Relational‑consciousness was expected to be positively associated with people's interpersonal attraction and involvement, whereas relational‑anxiety was expected to be inversely related to romantic closeness.  These ideas were derived from the literature indicating that thought tends to polarize people's attitude about a person, thing, or idea (Tesser & Paulhus, 1976).  In this sense, thinking about a romantic relationship should lead to the generation of a more favorable evaluation of that relationship.  Evidence for the convergent validity of the RAS would thus be demonstrated by finding positive correlations between relational‑consciousness and measures of relationship involvement (e.g., are you currently dating only one person), interpersonal attraction (e.g., desperate love, "normal" love, and liking), relationship orientation (i.e., communal and exchange), interpersonal evaluations (e.g., relationship satisfaction), and love attitudes (e.g., "friendship," "romantic," and "all‑giving" types of love).  By contrast, higher scores on the relational‑anxiety subscale should be associated with lower indexes of interpersonal attraction, involvement, closeness, and evaluation.  This prediction follows directly from the rationale that relational‑anxiety involves considerable uneasiness and discomfort in the presence of a romantic partner, which in turn should undermine feelings of romantic closeness, attraction, and involvement with that individual.

Relational‑Consciousness, Saliency, and Attraction Judgments

         In order to provide evidence for the predictive validity of the relational‑consciousness subscale, an additional investigation was conducted.  This study involved an examination of whether relational‑consciousness would be associated with people's reactions to salient information about their intimate relationship (cf. Seligman, Fazio, & Zanna, 1980).  Previous research has indicated that people form their attitudes based on inferences about their own behaviors (Bem, 1970), and others researchers have demonstrated that individuals' attitudes can be manipulated by varying the cognitive salience of past behaviors related to their attitudes (Salancik, 1974; Salancik & Conway, 1975; Seligman et al., 1980).  Relationship salience was varied in the present investigation by manipulating people's level of attention to past behaviors associated with their intimate relationships (high versus low salience states).  Liking and loving, as well as love styles, were then assessed through the use of Rubin's (1970, 1973) Liking‑Loving Scale and Hendrick and Hendrick's (1986) Love Attitude Scale.  It was anticipated that the salience manipulation would exert a stronger impact on the interpersonal attraction judgments of those individuals with higher levels of relational‑consciousness.  Specifically, it was predicted that those individuals who spend considerable time thinking about intimate relationships (i.e., those with greater relational‑consciousness) would be more likely to base their interpersonal attraction and love styles on salient information about their relationships (Seligman et al., 1980).

Method

Participants

         The participants in the present research came from three separate samples drawn from several psychology courses at a small Midwestern university.  Sample I consisted of 434 participants (115 males; 316 females; 3 sex‑unspecified) and was collected during the summer and fall of 1987 (age = 24.01, SD = 6.65, range = 16 ‑ 54).  Sample II consisted of 154 participants (39 males; 114 females; 1 sex‑unspecified) and was collected during the spring of 1988 (age = 23.54, SD = 6.69; range = 18 ‑ 55).  Sample III contained 386 participants (117 males; 265 females; 4 sex‑unspecified) who were assessed during the fall of 1988 and the spring of 1989 (age = 24.08; SD = 6.87; range = 17 ‑ 60).  The participants volunteered to participate in the research projects as one way to earn extra credit counting toward their final course grade.  The number of participants in the analyses reported below varies at times because of occasional missing data.

Procedure

         The participants were asked to volunteer to participate in research dealing with close relationships.  Those who volunteered to participate were first asked to read and sign an informed consent form.  In Sample I, the Relationship Awareness Scale and the Relational Assessment Questionnaire (Snell, 1990) were administered to the subjects (described below).  In Sample II, the RAS was administered to the subjects along with measures of social desirability (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964), self‑monitoring (Snyder, 1974, 1987), relational‑esteem (Snell, 1990), self‑consciousness (Fenigstein et al., 1975), body‑consciousness (Miller et al., 1981), liking and love (Rubin, 1970), self‑esteem (Janis & Field, 1959), relationship‑consciousness (Cate, Koval, & Lloyd, 1989), and several single‑item questions about intimate relationships.  The subjects in Sample III completed the RAS and the following instruments during several testing sessions:  the Love Attitudes Scale (Hendrick & Hendrick, 1986), the Desperate Love Scale (Sperling, 1985), the Relationship Assessment Scale (Hendrick, 1988), the Exchange and Communal Orientation Scales (Clark et al., 1987; Clark et al. 1989), Rubin's Liking‑Loving Scale (Rubin, 1970), the Relational Assessment Questionnaire (Snell, 1990), and several single‑item questions about intimate relationships.  Approximately four weeks after the initial administration, the participants in Sample III were retest on the Relationship Awareness Scale.  When the participants in each sample completed the full set of instruments, they were completely debriefed about the purpose of the research.

Construction of the Relationship Awareness Questionnaire

         A set of items was written for each of the three subscales on the Relationship Awareness Questionnaire.  Fenigstein et al.'s instrument provided a preliminary basis for the construction of the items. The statements in each of the three groups were written in accord with the definitions of relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety specified earlier.  For each item, the subjects were asked to indicate how much that statement characterized them.  A 5‑point Likert scale was used, with each item being scored from 0 to 4:  (0) not at all characteristic of me, (1) slightly characteristic of me, (2) somewhat characteristic of me, (3) moderately characteristic of me, (4) very characteristic of me.  In order to create subscale scores, the items assigned to each subscale were summed (see the factor analysis results).  Higher scores on the Relationship Awareness Scale thus correspond to greater relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety.

Other Measures

         Social Desirability The Social Desirability Scale (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964) measures the extent to which people's responses to self‑report instruments are influenced by the tendency to respond in a socially desirable fashion.  Higher scores correspond to a greater tendency to make socially desirable responses on instruments.

         Self‑Monitoring The Self‑Monitoring Scale (Snyder, 1974) measures the tendency to be aware of one's social surroundings and peoples' reactions to oneself and to modify the impressions one creates in public settings.  Higher scores on this scale indicate greater self‑monitoring tendencies.

         Self‑Consciousness The Self Consciousness Inventory (Fenigstein et al., 1975) measures three attention‑related tendencies.  The private self‑consciousness subscale measures the chronic tendency to focus on the private, unobservable aspects of oneself.  By contrast, the public self‑consciousness subscale measures the tendency to be aware of the public impression that one is creating in the minds of others.  A third subscale on the SCI measures social anxiety, defined as the tendency to feel anxious and nervous in social situations.  Higher scores correspond to greater private self‑consciousness, public self‑consciousness, and social anxiety.

         Body‑Consciousness Miller et al. (1981) developed the Body Consciousness Inventory to measure the extent to which people pay attention to the private and public aspects of their physical appearance.  The private body‑consciousness subscale measures the chronic tendency to be aware of the internal aspects of one's body, whereas the public body‑consciousness subscale was designed to measure the enduring tendency to pay attention to the public, observable aspects of one's physical appearance.  The third subscale, labeled the body‑competence subscale, was constructed to measure how strong and graceful people believe that their bodies are.  Higher scores indicate greater private and public body‑consciousness and body competence.

         Janis‑Field Social Self‑esteem ScaleThe Janis‑Field Social Self‑Esteem Scale (Janis & Field, 1959) is a brief measure of self‑esteem in social situations.  Higher scores on this instrument indicate a stronger feeling of adequacy in social settings.

         Love Attitude Scale The Love Attitudes Scale (Hendrick & Hendrick, 1986) was designed to assess attitudes toward six different love styles:  Eros (passionate love), Ludus (game‑playing love), Storge (friendship love), Pragma (practical love), Mania (possessive, dependent love), and Agape (altruistic love).  Higher scores in the present investigations correspond to greater amounts of each of these respective approaches to love.

         Desperate Love Scale Sperling (1985, in press) defined desperate love as marked by urgency, neediness, dependence, need for reciprocation, idealization, and affective extremes.  The Desperate Love Scale is a self‑report instrument designed to measure this psychological tendency, with higher scores corresponding to greater desperate love.

         Relationship SatisfactionHendrick (1988) designed the Relationship Satisfaction Scale to measure the tendency to feel satisfied about one's relationship.  Higher scores on this inventory correspond to greater relationship satisfaction.

         Clark's Exchange and Communal Orientation ScalesClark and her colleagues have developed independent measures of communal and exchange approaches to others (Clark et al., 1987; Clark et al., 1989).  An exchange relationship orientation is defined as one in which benefits are given on the assumption that a similar benefit will be reciprocated.  By contrast, a communal relationship orientation is defined as one in which benefits are given on the assumption that they are in response to some need.  In the present investigation, higher scores indicate a stronger communal and exchange approach to others, respectively.

         Rubin's Liking and Loving ScalesThe Rubin (1970) measure contains two separate scales:  the Liking Scale, which focuses on how favorable people evaluate their partner, and the Loving Scale, which is concerned with people's attachment, caring, and intimacy toward their partner (Rubin, 1973, p. 217).  Higher scores on this measure indicate greater liking and loving, respectively.

         Relational Assessment QuestionnaireThe Relational Assessment Questionnaire (Snell, 1990) was designed to measure the following three tendencies:  relational‑esteem, defined as a generalized tendency to positively evaluate (a) one's capacity to relate intimately to another partner and (b) one's sense of adequacy as an intimate partner; relational‑depression, defined as a tendency to evaluate one's relationship potential in a negative fashion and to feel depressed about one's capability to relate in an intimate way to a close partner; and relational‑preoccupation, defined as the tendency to become absorbed in, obsessed with, and engrossed with one's intimate relationships and other matters related to one's potential for intimacy and one's intimate partner. Snell (1990) reported alphas of .85 for the relational‑esteem scale, .89 for the relational‑depression scale, and .86 for the relational‑preoccupation subscale.  Higher scores on the Relational Assessment Questionnaire correspond to greater relational‑esteem, relational‑depression, and relational‑preoccupation.

         Relationship Consciousness Scale.  Cate et al. (1989) developed the 20‑item Relationship Consciousness Scale (RCS) to measure the degree to which people think about various aspects of their premarital relationships.  The RCS has an internal reliability of .82, a split‑half reliability of .78, and a test‑retest reliability of .79.  Evidence for the validity of the RCS may also be found in Cate et al. (1989).  The RCS was positively correlated with measures of private self‑consciousness, interpersonal orientation (Swap & Rubin, 1983), and relationship conflict among both males and females, while being negatively associated with men's relationship satisfaction and positively associated with their romantic attitudes.  In the present study, higher RCS scores correspond to greater relationship consciousness.

         Relationship Items Several additional items about the subjects' present, past, and imagined relationships were administered in Sample II and III.  Among the questions were:  (1) are you currently dating someone exclusively (that is, one person and no one else), scored yes = 1 and no = 0; (2) are you currently in a close relationship, scored yes = 1 and no = 0; (3) how many times have you been in love, scored none=0, one = 1, two = 2, three to five = 3, and more than five = 4; (4) are you in love now, scored yes = 1 and no = 0; (5) if you are currently involved in an intimate relationship, how much do you love your partner, scored 0 = do not love at all, 1 = not very much love, 2 = average amount of love, 3 = considerable love, and 4 = very intense and strong love; (6) if you found yourself wanting to find a new partner, how easy or difficult would that be, scored 4 = very easy, 3 = easy, 2 = difficult, and 1 = very difficult; and (7) if you were to find a new partner, how would the new partner compare with your present (or most recent or ideal) partner, scored 1 = worse and 0 = better.

Experimental Saliency Study

         The subjects in Sample II were also asked to participate in an additional study dealing with human relationships.  When the subjects arrived at the research session, experimental booklets were randomly distributed.  They were informed that the study concerned the kinds of activities which couples can share, and were told to complete the questionnaire with regard to their current partner.  If they were not currently dating, they were asked to respond based on their last intimate relationship; if they had never been involved in a romantic relationship, they were asked to respond based on how they imaged a future relationship of their's would be. 

         The saliency manipulation was based on studies conducted by Seligman et al. (1980), Salancik (1974), and Salancik and Conway (1975) and was designed to cognitively manipulate subjects' attention to past behavioral information about their romantic relationship.  The initial section of the questionnaire contained a list of 38 desirable activities that couples could do together (e.g., have dinner, take walks).  Subjects responded to these items by indicating whether they had engaged in each activity with their partner.  Cognitive saliency was manipulated by having half of the subjects read these statements paired with the word "frequently" (the high salience condition) or paired with the word "sometimes" (the low salience condition).  Salancik and others have shown that the term "frequently" establishes a high salience cognitive set and the term "sometimes" establishes a low salience cognitive set.  After responding to these statements, the subjects were asked to indicate how much they liked and loved their partner, using Rubin's (1973) liking and loving scales, and to describe their love styles, using the Hendrick & Hendrick (1986) Love Attitude Scale.

Results

         The results are presented in seven sections:  (a) the factor analysis results for the items on the Relationship Awareness Scale; (b) the results of the reliability analyses conducted on the three RAS subscales; (c) the correlations among the relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety subscales; (d) normative data for males and females; (e) convergent and discriminant validity information concerning the RAS subscales; (f) the romantic relationship correlates of the RAS subscales; and (g) predictive validity evidence for the relational‑consciousness subscale.

Factor Analysis Results

         To determine whether the items on the Relationship Awareness Scale would cluster into three groups corresponding to relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relationship anxiety, the thirty items on the Relationship Awareness Scale were submitted to a factor analysis, using principal components factoring with varimax rotation for three factors.  The initial solution indicated that one item from each of the resulting factor solutions should be deleted (due to small loadings and cross‑loadings), after which the items were reanalyzed using the same factor analysis procedure.  The resulting loadings from this second factor analysis are presented in Table 1.  An inspection of this table indicates clear support for the anticipated three‑factor solution, with appropriate items loading together on the anticipated factor solutions.  Factor I consisted of relational‑anxiety items (eigenvalue = 6.47; percent of variance = 24.0).  The second factor solution contained the items on the relational‑monitoring subscale (eigenvalue = 3.52; percent of variance = 13.0), and the items on the relational‑consciousness subscale had the largest loadings on Factor III (eigenvalue = 1.83; percent of variance = 6.8).  Thus, there was factorial evidence that the RAS items formed three groups corresponding to the concepts of relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety.

 

Table 1

Factor Analysis Loadings for the Relationship Awareness Scale


 

 

Factor Solutions

 Items on the Relationship Awareness Scale                                          

 

 

   I

  II

III


 

 

 

 

 

Relational‑Consciousness:

 

 

 

 

 

1.

I am very aware of what goes on in my close relationships.

‑.38

.16

.45

4.

I reflect about my intimate relationships a lot.

.19

.11

.64

7.

In general, I'm attentive to the nature of my close relationships.

‑.22

.12

.61

10.

I'm always trying to understand my close relationships.

.27

.14

.55

13.

I'm alert to changes in my intimate relationships.

‑.27

.11

.67

16.

I'm very aware of changes in my intimate relationships.

‑.26

.09

.69

19.

My thoughts sometimes drift toward the nature of my close relationships.

.19

.09

.69

25.

I think about my close relationships more than most people do.

.37

.14

.55

28.

I usually spend time thinking about my close relationships.

.20

.13

.65

 

 

 

 

 

Relational‑Monitoring:

 

 

 

 

 

2.

I am very aware of what others think about my close relationships.

‑.11

.59

.27

5.

I'm concerned about what other people think of my relationships.

.31

.75

.08

8.

I'm concerned about the way my intimate relationships are presented to others.

.25

.72

.15

11.

I'm usually aware of others' reactions to my close relationships.

‑.03

.69

.29

14.

I'm concerned about how my intimate relationship appears to others.

.28

.80

.09

20.

I'm usually alert to others' reactions to my close relationships.

.06

.75

.26

23.

I sometimes wonder what others think about my intimate relationships.

.30

.72

.08

26.

I'm not usually attentive to what others think about my intimate relationships.  (R)

‑.04

.53

‑.10

29.

I'm usually alert to others' reactions to my intimate relationships.

.13

.74

.18

 

 

 

 

 

Relational‑Anxiety:

 

 

 

 

 

3.

I usually feel quite anxious about my intimate relationships.

.50

.16

.29

6.

It takes me time to get over my shyness in a new close relationship.

.47

.03

.07

9.

Intimate relationships make me feel nervous and anxious.

.77

.16

‑.02

12.

I am somewhat awkward and tense in intimate relationships.

.77

.08

‑.05

15.

I feel nervous when I interact with a partner in an intimate relationship.

.77

.10

‑.03

18.

I am more anxious about intimate relationships than most people are.

.69

.14

.20

21.

I feel uncomfortable when I think about talking with an intimate partner.

.57

.06

‑.10

24.

I would feel inhibited and shy in an intimate relationship.

.68

.11

‑.14

30.

I would feel anxious in a new intimate relationship.

.50

.11

.13


Note.  Appropriate factor loadings greater than |.45| are underlined.  (R) = reverse‑coded items.

 Reliability Analyses

         Subscale scores were computed based on unit‑weighting of the items identified by the factor analysis results.  The internal consistency of the three subscales on the Relationship Awareness Questionnaire (i.e., the relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety subscales) was then determined by computing Cronbach alpha coefficients.  For all three subscales the reliability analyses were based on nine separate items.  Table 2 presents the reliability results for all three subscales.  The Cronbach alpha for the relational‑consciousness scale was .81; for the relational‑monitoring subscale, .88; and for the relational‑anxiety scale, .85.  In addition, test‑retest reliability was .71 for relational‑consciousness, .73 for relational‑monitoring, and .70 for relational‑anxiety.  In summary, the three RAQ subscales had sufficient internal consistency and stability to justify their use in the subsequent analyses.

 

Table    2

Reliability and Validity Results for the Relationship Awareness Scale


Reliability

 

Subscales on the Relationship Awareness Scale

and

 


 

Validity

 

Relational‑

Relational‑

Relational‑

n

Measures

 

Consciousness

Monitoring

Anxiety

 


Relational‑Consciousness

.‑‑

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relational‑Monitoring

.39d

 

.‑‑

 

 

 

927‑931

Relational‑Anxiety

.

.14d

 

33d

 

.‑‑

 

927‑931

Cronbach Alphas

 

.81

 

.88

 

.85

 

927‑931

Test‑Retest:

 

.71

 

.73

 

.70

 

379

Social Desirability

 

‑.03

 

.05

 

.02

 

135‑148

Self‑Monitoring

 

‑.03

 

‑.08

 

‑.10

 

135‑148

Self‑Consciousness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Private

 

.41d

 

.25d

 

.24c

 

135‑148

     Public

 

.23c

 

.33d

 

.22c

 

135‑148

     Social Anxiety

 

‑.05

 

.16a

 

.53d

 

135‑148

Body‑Consciousness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Private

 

.19a

 

.18a

 

.05

 

135‑148

     Public

 

.21b

 

.26d

 

.15a

 

135‑148

     Body Competence

.12

 

.01

 

.08

 

135‑148

Self‑Esteem

 

.02

 

‑.11

 

‑.36d

 

135‑143

Relationship  Consciousness Scale

 

.50d

 

.36d

 

.26d

 

380

Females 

 

24.80

 

19.74

 

13.66

 

665

Males 

 

22.83

 

18.05

 

14.62

 

258

        F(1, 921)

 

19.75d

 

8.88d

 

3.18

 

 


Note.  The score range for relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety was 0‑36.  Higher scores correspond to greater amounts of the respective tendencies.

a p < .05.     b p < .01.     c p < .005.     d p < .001.

 

Correlations Among the Subscales

         The correlations among the relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety subscales are presented in Table 2.  An inspection of this table indicates that relational‑consciousness was positively associated with relational‑monitoring, r = .39, p < .001. In addition, it can be seen in Table 2 that relational‑anxiety was positively associated with relational‑consciousness, r = .14, p < .001, and also positively correlated with relational‑monitoring, r = .33, p < .001.  However, none of these correlations explained more than 11% of the variance, and thus one may conclude that the RAS subscales are only weakly related to each another.

Gender Comparison Results

         In order to determine whether women and men would report unique levels of relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety, a two‑group (females and males) MANOVA was conducted on the three RAS subscales.  Table 2 present the means and standard deviations for each subscale for males and females.  An inspection of this table indicates that the MANOVA main effect for gender was statistically significant, F(3, 919) = 10.30, p < .001.  The women subjects reported higher scores on the relational‑consciousness and relational‑monitoring subscales (Ms = 24.80 and 19.74, respectively) than did the male subjects (Ms = 22.83 and 18.05, respectively).  By contrast, the male subjects tended to report higher scores on the relational‑anxiety subscale (M = 14.62) than did the female subjects (M = 13.66).

Convergent and Discriminant Validity of the RAS

         The convergent and discriminant validity of the Relationship Awareness Scale was studied by examining the correlations between the three RAS subscales and several other instruments and variables.

         Social Desirability.  To determine whether the responses to the items on the Relationship Awareness Scale might be contaminated by the tendency to respond in a socially desirable fashion, the Crowne‑Marlowe Social Desirability Scale was administered to the subjects in Sample II. Table 2 shows that none of the correlations between this measure of social desirability and the three RAS subscales was statistically significant.

         Discriminant Validity of the RAS.  Preliminary evidence for the discriminant validity of the RAS is also presented in Table 2.  This table reveals that all three RAS subscales were unrelated to the measures of self‑monitoring and body‑competence. Additionally, an inspection of this table also shows that relational‑consciousness was unrelated to body‑competency and social anxiety.  In brief, the present investigation provided preliminary evidence for the discriminant validity of the Relationship Awareness Scale.

         Convergent Validity of the RAS.  Table 2 also provides a consistent pattern of evidence for the validity of the RAS subscales.  An inspection of this table reveals that relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring and relational‑anxiety were related not only to public and private self‑consciousness, but also to public and private body consciousness (except for private body‑consciousness and relational‑anxiety).  In addition, the RAS's convergent validity was further demonstrated by the positive correlations between both relational‑consciousness and relational‑monitoring and Cate's Relationship Consciousness Scale, rs = .49 and .35, respectively, both ps < .001.  Furthermore, as predicted, a negative correlation was found between relational‑anxiety and self‑esteem, r = ‑.36, p < .001, and a positive correlation was found between relational‑anxiety and social anxiety, r = .53, p < .001.  Finally, Table 3 shows, as predicted, that relational‑consciousness was positively correlated with both relational‑esteem [r = .30, p < .001] and relational‑preoccupation [r = .48, p < .001]; that relational‑monitoring was positively correlated with relational‑preoccupation [r = .21, p < .001]; and that relational‑anxiety was negatively correlated with relational‑esteem [r = ‑.39, p < .001] and positively correlated with relational‑depression [r = 49, p < .001].  Thus, there was clear preliminary evidence for the convergent validity of the subscales on the Relationship Awareness Scale.

 

Table    3

Correlations between the Relationship Awareness Scale and the Interpersonal Relationship Measures


 

   Subscales on the Relationship Awareness Scale

Interpersonal


 

Measures

Relational‑

Relational‑

Relational-

n

 

Consciousness

Monitoring

Anxiety

 


Much Love for Partner?

 

 

.21d

 

 

‑.04

 

 

‑.25d

348

Currently Dating?

 

 

.13b

 

 

‑.06

 

 

‑.22d

380

Times in Love?

 

 

.11a

 

 

‑.03

 

 

‑.16d

380

In Love Now?

 

 

.15c

 

 

‑.02

 

 

‑.18d

380

Eros (romantic)

 

 

.12a

 

 

 .05

 

 

 .09a

379

Ludus  (game playing)

 

 

‑.12b

 

 

 ‑.02

 

 

 .10a

379

Storge (friendship)

 

 

 .12b

 

 

 .05

 

 

 .10a

379

Pragma  (shopping list)

 

 

 .11a

 

 

 .22d

 

 

 .10a

379

Mania (dependent)

 

 

 .27d

 

 

 .22d

 

 

 .31d

377

Agape (all‑giving)

 

 

 .16d

 

 

 .11a

 

 

 ‑.06

374

Relational‑Esteem

 

 

.30d

 

 

‑.04

 

 

‑.39d

915‑923

Relational‑Depression

 

 

‑.04

 

 

.10d

 

 

.49d

915‑923

Relational‑Preoccupation

 

 

.48d

 

 

.21d

 

 

.18d

915‑923

Liking

 

 

‑.00

 

 

‑.04

 

 

‑.12a

376

Loving

 

 

.20d

 

 

.09a

 

 

‑.10a

379

Desperate Love

 

 

.39d

 

 

.19d

 

 

.15c

379

Relationship Satisfaction

 

 

.10a

 

 

‑.05

 

 

‑.27d

372

Communal Orientation

 

 

.35d

 

 

.22d

 

 

‑.16c

373

Exchange Orientation

 

 

‑.03

 

 

.10a

 

 

.19d

373


Note.  See text for a description of the instruments.

a p < .05.     b p < .01.    . c p < .005.     d p < .001

                         

  

         Although not predicted, we also found that relational‑anxiety was positively correlated with both private and public self‑consciousness [rs = .24 and .22, respectively, both ps < .005], public body‑consciousness [r = .15, p < .05], Cate's Relationship Consciousness Scale [r = .26, p < .001], and relational‑preoccupation [r = .18, p < .001].  Additionally, relational‑monitoring was found to be positively correlated with social anxiety [r = .16, p < .05], relational‑depression [r = .10, p < .001], and relational‑preoccupation [r = .21, p < .001].  No other correlations were statistically significant.

Relationship Correlates

         To the extent that relational‑consciousness and relational‑anxiety can be thought of as important aspects of romantic love, then these dispositional tendencies should be associated with several features of people's intimate relationships.  The results for several relationship variables are shown in Table 3 and, as expected, the prediction was generally well supported.

         Reported Intimate Experiences.  Relational‑consciousness was positively related with several of the single‑item questions used in the present investigation:  whether the subjects were currently dating just one person, the number of times they had been in love, how much love they felt for their partner, and whether they were currently in love.  A similar pattern of statistically significant but negative correlations was also found for the measure of relational‑anxiety.

         Relationship Orientation, Satisfaction, and Attraction.  As predicted, the three RAS subscales were related to the way the subjects approached their romantic relationships and their intimate partners.  Individuals with greater relational‑consciousness reported a stronger preference for a communal approach to intimate relationships, more satisfaction with their romantic relationships, and more interpersonal attraction for their partners‑‑defined in terms of Rubin's love scale, Sperling's desperate love scale, and the Hendricks' measures of love attitudes (see Table 3).

         Relational‑anxiety, as predicted, was associated with more of an exchange than a communal approach to relationships; more desperate love, less liking, and more "normal" love for a partner; and less relationship satisfaction.  In addition, people with greater relational‑anxiety reported less of a "romantic" attitude toward love, but more of the following types of love attitudes:  ludus (game‑playing), storge (friendship), pragma (shopping list), and mania (dependent).

         Although not predicted, relational‑monitoring was also found to be related to the subjects' relationship orientation and attraction.  Individuals who described themselves as being concerned about the public image of their intimate relationships (i.e., those with greater relational‑monitoring) reported a greater degree of both desperate love and the following types of love attitudes:  pragma (shopping list), mania (dependent), and agape (all‑giving).  In addition, those individuals with greater relational‑monitoring reported more "normal" love for their partners (Rubin, 1973) and greater communal and exchange approaches to their intimate relationships.  No other correlations were statistically significant.

Predictive Validity Findings

         Additional evidence for the validity of the Relationship Awareness Scale was obtained by conducting an investigation concerned with subjects' reactions to salient relationship information. In this study partial correlations were computed between relational‑consciousness and the Liking‑Loving Scale (Rubin, 1979) and the Love Attitude Scale (Hendrick & Hendrick, 1986) for subjects in the high and low salience conditions.  For each reported partial correlation, scores for the measures of relational‑monitoring and relational‑anxiety were partialled out.

         As an inspection of Table 4 indicates, the resulting correlations were consistent with the predicted pattern.  Relative to their counterparts in the low salience condition, the subjects with higher levels of relational‑consciousness who were exposed to salient positive information about their intimate relations reported greater love for their intimate partners (r = .31, p < .005).  In addition, subjects in the high salience condition who described themselves as having greater relational‑consciousness also reported greater romantic love (eros),  r = .31, p < .005; greater all‑giving love (agape),  r = .35, p < .001; and greater possessive love (mania),  r = .28, p < .01. No statistically significant partial correlations were found in the low salience condition (see Table 4).

  

Table    4

Partial (and Zero‑order) Correlations Between Relational‑Consciousness and Liking, Loving, and Love Attitudes for an Intimate Partner as a Function of Salient (versus Non‑Salient) Relationship Behaviors


Attraction

           Saliency  Conditions       

Measures

 

Salient

Non‑Salient


Liking

 

 .04

 .12

 

 

(.12)

(.09)

Love

 

.  31c

  .13

 

 

( .37e)

( .11 )

Eros   (romantic)

 

  .32d

  .13

 

 

 ( .29c)

( .14 )

Ludus  (game‑playing)

 

  ‑.01

  ‑.10

 

 

(‑.02 )

(‑.10 )

Storge   (friendship)

 

  .07

  .02

 

 

( .16 )

( .02 )

Pragma  (shopping)

 

  ‑.09

  ‑.04

 

 

( .08 )

( .04 )

Mania  (possessive)

 

  .28b

  .15

 

 

( .41e)

( .17)

Agape  (all‑giving)

 

  .35d

  .08

 

 

( .40e)

( .10 )


NoteN for salient condition = 66; n for non‑salient condition = 70.  Zero‑order correlations are shown in parentheses.  Scores for the remaining two subscales on the Relationship Awareness Scale were partialled out of the reported partial correlations.  Higher scores indicate greater relational‑consciousness, and greater love, liking, and love attitudes.  EROS = romantic passionate; LUDUS = game playing; STORGE = friendship; PRAGMA = logical shopping list; MANIA = possessive dependent; and AGAPE = all‑giving selfless.

 a p < .05.     b p < .01.     c p < .005.     d p < .001.

 

Discussion

         People vary in the extent to which they think about the private and public features of their intimate relationships.  Some people spend a great deal of their time thinking about the "internal" features of their close relationships, whereas others are very aware of and concerned about other's reactions to their intimate relationships.  In the present research the former personality tendency was called relational‑consciousness, while the latter tendency was labeled relational‑monitoring. The purpose of the present investigation was to construct and validate an objective self‑report instrument of these two attentional dispositions, the Relationship Awareness Scale.  In addition, since relational‑monitoring was assumed to be associated with relational‑anxiety, a secondary purpose of this study was to construct a measure of relational‑anxiety, defined as the tendency to experience anxiety and uneasiness in an intimate relationship.

         A factor analysis of the Relationship Awareness Scale confirmed that the RAS items form three empirical clusters that correspond to the concepts of relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety.  Other results also showed that all three RAS subscales have clearly acceptable levels of internal reliability and stability.  In addition, the results presented in this investigation indicated that women reported greater relational‑consciousness and relational‑monitoring than did men, while males tended to report greater relational‑anxiety than did females.  These gender specific patterns of relational awareness are consistent with the stereotypic view that women are more relationship oriented than men.  Further research evidence showed that relational‑monitoring was positively correlated with relational‑anxiety, confirming the expectation that individuals with a heightened degree of relational‑monitoring would report feeling uncomfortable, uneasy, and anxious in their intimate relationships (cf. Sarason, 1975).

         Preliminary evidence for the convergent validity for the three RAS subscales was also found in the present investigation (cf. Carver & Glass, 1976).  People with greater relational‑consciousness reported being more self‑confident and self‑assured about their relationship potential, as assessed by a measure of relational‑esteem (cf. Brockner & Hulton, 1978; Franzoi, 1983; Ickes, Wicklund & Ferris, 1973).  In addition, people with greater relational‑anxiety were found to have more relational‑depression and less relational‑esteem, as measured by the Relational Assessment Questionnaire (Snell, 1990).  Also, as expected, the measure of relational‑anxiety was found to be positively related to relational‑depression and negatively related to relational‑esteem.

         Other findings also demonstrated that relational‑consciousness was positively associated with several measures of relationship involvement, satisfaction, and attraction.  In addition, relational‑anxiety was found to be negatively associated with these same relationship variables, while relational‑monitoring was less predictive of these aspects of people's romantic relationships. Lastly, an experimental study showed that people with greater relational‑consciousness were more likely to base their attraction toward a romantic partner on salient behavioral information about their romantic relationship.  In light of these findings, there seems to be preliminary evidence that the Relationship Awareness Scale may prove to be useful in the study of attentional tendencies associated with people's intimate relationships.

Mediational Processes Associated with Relationship Awareness

         While the evidence documented in the present research provides strong preliminary evidence for both the reliability and validity of the Relationship Awareness Scale, still an important issue needs to be further addressed:  namely, the hypothetical processes presumed to underlie relationship awareness tendencies.  In his theory of self‑consciousness Buss (1980) argues that a heightened state of self‑consciousness produces two main psychological consequences, intensification of affect and clearer self knowledge.  Similarly, a high degree of relational‑consciousness is assumed to intensify the affective reactions which people have to their intimate relationships.  More specifically, the feelings people have about their close relationships should be especially intense for those with greater relational‑consciousness.  Men and women, for example, who are experiencing some discrepancy between the type of intimate partner they are and the type of intimate partner they would like to be should feel somewhat more depressed and dissatisfied with themselves if they are characterized by a high degree of relational‑consciousness.

         A second psychological consequence that is assumed to be associated with a heightened state of relational‑consciousness involves greater knowledge and understanding of one's intimate relationship (cf. Pryor, Gibbons, Wicklund, Fazio, & Hood, 1977).  It is posited that people who are higher in relational‑consciousness will have greater knowledge of the private features of their romantic relationships.  Thus, they should be more certain about the state of their intimate relations, and they should have greater understanding, more clarity, and more exact knowledge about their intimate relationships.  High relational‑consciousness, in this sense, ought to be associated with being in greater touch not only with one's own personal feelings about one's intimate relationship (Scheier & Carver, 1977), but also with one's own personal attitudes about both one's intimate partner and one's relationship potential.  Consistent with Buss's ideas, relational‑consciousness is thus assumed to be associated with (a) the amplification of the emotional, affective aspects of intimate relationships and (b) greater understanding and knowledge about the behavioral, cognitive, and affective aspects of oneself as an intimate partner and one's intimate relationship.

         Self‑consciousness theory also specifies that attention to the public aspects of one's life will generate feelings of anxiety (Buss, 1980).  Similarly, a heightened state of relational‑monitoring is assumed to be associated with both relationship discomfort and relationship evaluation. Accordingly, people with a high degree of relational‑monitoring should be very aware of their relationship when others are watching them interact with their partner.  When watched by others, people high in relational‑monitoring will thus become acutely aware of themselves as part of an intimate relationship.  This attentional tendency should in turn provoke feelings of being socially exposed and vulnerable, thereby fostering greater relationship discomfort and uneasiness.

         A second consequence associated with relational‑monitoring deals with comparisons between people's real and desired public impressions of their intimate relationships (cf. Buss, 1980).  As people develop and mature into adults they develop a set of normative public behaviors which they consider appropriate for individuals involved in an intimate relationship.  They develop an ideal public image of how they themselves ought to relate to a romantic partner in social settings.  When in a heightened state of relational‑monitoring, people will become especially concerned about how their current relationship compares to their notion of an ideal intimate relationship.  For most people, this comparison will result in a negative discrepancy between their ideal notion of an intimate relationship and their current intimate relationship.  Such a negative discrepancy will ordinarily elevate the dissatisfaction and depression of people with greater relational‑monitoring. They will start to feel displeased about their intimate relationship, and begin to doubt the nature and viability of their intimate relationship.  Under this set of circumstances, high relational‑monitors often become aware that their intimate relationships fail to match others' and sometimes even their own social expectations of what an intimate relationship should be.  They then become concerned about the public image of their intimate relationship, and for many of those high in relational‑monitoring this concern elicits anxiety and subsequent impression management tactics (cf. Snyder, 1987).  In this fashion, the public scrutiny of their intimate relationships will often generate feelings of relational‑anxiety and relational‑presentation reactions among individuals high in relational‑monitoring (Arkin, 1981; Deaux, 1977; Schlenker, 1975; Schlenker & Leary, 1982). In brief, relational‑monitoring is presumed to be associated with (a) discomfort, uneasiness, and uncertainty about one's intimate relationship and (b) a public discrepancy between one's actual‑versus‑desired intimate relationships that leads to subsequent attempts to foster a favorable impression of one's intimate relationship (Arkin, 1981; Arkin, Appelman, & Burger, 1980; Deaux, 1977; Schlenker & Leary, 1982).  Part of this assumption was borne out in the present investigation, in that relational‑monitoring was positively correlated with relational‑anxiety.

Relationship with Other Theoretical Approaches

         The current approach to the study of relationship awareness bears some resemblance to the theory of self‑monitoring (Snyder, 1974, 1979, 1987; Snyder & Cantor, 1980; Snyder & Simpson, 1984, 1987).  Self‑monitoring involves the tendency for people to observe, regulate, and control the public appearances of themselves which they display in social situations and interpersonal relationships (Snyder, 1987, p. 4‑5).  Defined in this manner, the concept of self‑monitoring is somewhat similar to the current notion of relational‑monitoring.  Both involve the tendency to be aware of the impressions and images which others form about the social aspects of oneself.  Relational‑monitoring, however, is directly concerned with the public image that an intimate relationship makes on others, while Snyder's concept of self‑monitoring is more directly concerned with the impression that one's self makes on others.  Thus, the former concept is relationship oriented while the latter is more self oriented.

         In addition, there is another similarity between Snyder's theory of self‑monitoring and the present concept of relational‑monitoring.  Snyder argues that self‑monitoring involves an active regulation and control of the self‑image that one projects in social situations.  In a similar fashion, the present theory makes the assumption that relational‑monitoring is associated with not only an attentiveness to how others view one's intimate relationships, but also with the tendency to attempt to create favorable impressions of one's intimate relationships in the eyes of others.  In this sense, it may be said that both approaches posit that people are concerned with how others personally view them, and that people expend time and effort in the service of creating and fostering socially desirable images of themselves (in the case of self‑monitoring) and of their intimate relationships (in the case of relational‑monitoring).

         Another important conceptual distinction associated with the present theory of relationship awareness involves the lay notion of self‑consciousness (Christensen, 1982).  As defined in everyday terms, self‑consciousness involves the tendency to become unduly conscious of oneself as a social object, with accompanying feelings of awkwardness and embarrassment.  By contrast, the concept of relational‑consciousness involves simply the tendency to think about and to be aware of the nature and internal dynamics of one's intimate relationship.  No additional assumption is made that relational‑consciousness is associated with strong feelings of awkwardness and embarrassment.  Thus, the term relational‑consciousness, as used herein, refers to an attentional tendency associated with the internal private aspects of people's close relationships.  It was not intended to connote any notion of embarrassment or awkwardness associated with intimate relationships.

         While we have used Buss's (1980) ideas as a theoretical basis for explaining relational awareness processes, Carver and Scheier's cybernetic model or control theory explanation of self‑awareness may also apply to the present concept of relationship awareness (Carver, 1979; Carver & Scheier, 1981, 1982, 1983).  Carver and Scheier argue that self‑attention evokes a comparison between the self and some salient self‑related standard of appropriateness.  When a discrepancy is found to exist between the "real" self and these standards of "appropriateness," then people are assumed to act and behave in ways to conform with the ideal norms.  Further, this process is described as cognitive in nature (see the TOTE explanation in Carver and Scheier, 1981).  Future theoretical work will have to examine the possible implications of cybernetic principles to the study of dispositional tendencies associated with relational awareness.

         Recent theoretical and empirical work by Hull and his colleagues, however, may have more immediate and direct application to the current work on relationship awareness (Hull & Levy, 1979; Hull, Levenson, Young, & Sher, 1983; Hull & Young, 1983; Hull, Young, & Jouriles, 1986; Hull, VanTreuren, Ashford, Propsom, & Andrus, 1988).  According to Hull, the state and trait of self‑awareness are primarily involved with a cognitive process of encoding information according to its self‑relevance.  People with greater self‑consciousness presumably react to salient information by encoding those aspects of it that are related to their self‑concept.  This process involves the activation of self‑relevant knowledge, which itself may in turn influence subsequent encoding processes.  Similar to Hull's analysis of self‑awareness tendencies, it seems entirely possible to expand the current ideas about relational awareness so that in certain circumstances they are explicable in terms of encoding processes.  An encoding view of relationship awareness would thus posit that personality variations in relational‑consciousness would be associated with greater activation of relationship‑relevant information from one's memory, and that people with greater relational‑consciousness would also be more strongly affected by situationally manipulated cues about their romantic relationships (cf. Study 2 in Hull et al., 1988).  Evidence consistent with this "encoding" interpretation of relational‑awareness was actually obtained in the present program of research.  When behavioral information about their intimate relationship was made salient, people higher in relational‑consciousness were more likely to incorporate that information into their subsequent judgments about their partners.  Presumably those people with greater relational‑consciousness reacted to the saliency manipulation by having greater knowledge about their intimate relationship activated in their memory and this in turn led them to encode the information as relevant to the relational aspects of their self‑concept.  The salient information was thus used as the basis for their interpersonal attraction judgments.  Since this post‑hoc explanation of the present saliency study is admittedly speculative, additional research is needed to further examine these ideas.

         Another recent perspective on self‑reflection also warrants mentioning here.  Unlike Hull and Carver and Scheier who bring a highly cognitive perspective to the study of self‑awareness phenomena, others have recently provided a motivational explanation of self‑awareness tendencies (Franzoi, Davis, & Markwiese, 1990).  Franzoi et al. (1990) argue that people who pay considerable attention to themselves do so because of a need for greater self‑knowledge; by contrast, and that those who think about themselves less often do so because they are motivated to protect their image of their self‑concept (i.e., because of a need for self‑defense).  This motivational interpretation of trait self‑awareness would seem to be equally applicable to certain situations involving relational‑consciousness.  People with greater relational‑consciousness may be more motivated to acquire knowledge about and understanding of their intimate relations, whereas those who report relatively low scores on the measure of relational‑consciousness may have a strong need to protect and preserve their image of the relational aspects of their self‑concept.  These ideas are entirely speculative and future research is needed to examine how well as well as when they apply to the concept of relational awareness.

Further Theoretical Issues

         An important distinction in this discussion of relationship awareness concerns the difference between relational‑consciousness (i.e., the tendency to be aware of the internal private aspects of one's intimate relationship) and relational‑monitoring (i.e., the tendency to be aware of the external impression one's intimate relationship makes on others).  In the present research, the two subscales designed to measure these theoretical constructs were found to be moderately and positively associated with each other.  Although these dispositional tendencies were moderately correlated with each other, other findings revealed that relational‑consciousness and relational‑monitoring were related in unique ways to several different measures.  For example, relational‑monitoring was strongly associated with relational‑anxiety, while relational‑consciousness was only weakly related to this dispositional tendency.  Also, relational‑consciousness but not relational‑monitoring was found to be related to positive feelings about one's intimate relations.  In addition, relational‑consciousness was consistently related to people's romantic activities (e.g., currently dating), whereas relational‑monitoring did not predict these behaviors.  Thus the two tendencies of relational‑consciousness and relational‑monitoring, while being somewhat related to one another, were uniquely related to other aspects of people's romantic relationships.  Given this pattern of findings, we would argue that it is important for future researcher to examine the unique consequences associated with each of these two attentional tendencies.

Conclusions

         In summary, the present article indicates that the Relationship Awareness Scale has considerable reliability and validity.  As such, this instrument would appear to be useful for future research dealing with intimate relationships (Brehm, 1985; Duck & Perlman, 1985; Goldberg, 1985; Hendrick & Hendrick, 1983; Kelley, Berscheid, Christensen, et al., 1983).  The measures of relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety could be used to investigate several important aspects of men's and women's romantic relationships (cf. Davis, 1973; Perlman & Duck, 1987; Kelley, Berscheid, et al., 1983).  In our own research we are currently an equity theory approach to study the ways in which these three dispositional tendencies influence people's affective reactions to their intimate relationships (cf. Hatfield, Utne, & Traupmann, 1979; Hatfield & Traupmann, 1981; Hatfield, Traupmann, Sprecher, Utne, & Hay, 1985).  In addition, we are investigating the impact of relational awareness on the types of power and avoidance strategies which intimate partners use with one another (cf. Belk & Snell, 1988; Falbo & Peplau, 1980), and the types of love which people express for their intimate partners (Bailey, Hendrick, & Hendrick, 1987; Dion & Dion, 1973, 1975; Graziano, Brothen, & Berscheid, 1980; Hendrick & Hendrick, 1986; Hendrick Hendrick, Foote, & Slapion‑Foote, 1984; Hendrick & Hendrick, 1983; Ickes & Barnes, 1977; Reis, Senchak, & Solomon, 1985; Scarf, 1987).  Also, we are investigating whether the two types of relationship awareness are associated with any gender‑related personality and gender‑role tendencies (cf. Belk & Snell, 1986; Huston & Ashmore, 1986; Peplau & Gordon, 1985; Snell, 1986; Spence & Helmreich, 1978). Future research might also focus on the impact of relationship awareness on people's tolerance for rape (Fisher, 1987), relational disclosures (Snell, Hampton, & McManus, 1992), and their perceptions of their past loves (Collins, McKee, & Clark, 1988; Strack, Schwarz, & Gschneidinger, 1985).  It is anticipated that these and other intimacy‑related topics may be better understood through the use of the Relationship Awareness Scale.


 
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RELATIONSHIP AWARENESS QUESTIONNAIRE

INSTRUCTIONS:  The items listed below refer to people in a close relationship (i.e., a relationship between two partners in an intimate relationship).  Please read each item carefully and decide to what extent it is characteristic of your feelings and behaviors.  Give each item a rating of how much it applies to you by using the following scale:


                                                  A        =        Not at all characteristic of me.

                                                  B        =        Slightly characteristic of me.

                                                  C        =        Somewhat characteristic of me.

                                                  D        =        Moderately characteristic of me.

                                                  E        =        Very characteristic of me.


NOTE:          Remember to respond to all items, even if you are not completely sure.

                    Also, please be honest in responding to these statements.


1.          I am very aware of what goes on in my close relationships.

2.          I am very aware of what others think about my close relationships.

3.          I usually feel quite anxious about my intimate relationships.

4.          I reflect about my intimate relationships a lot.

5.          I'm concerned about what other people think of my relationships.

6.          It takes me time to get over my shyness in a new close relationship.

7.          In general, I'm attentive to the nature of my close relationships.

8.          I'm concerned about the way my intimate relationships are presented to others.

9.          Intimate relationships make me feel nervous and anxious.

10.        I'm always trying to understand my close relationships.

11.        I'm usually aware of others' reactions to my close relationships.

12.        I am somewhat awkward and tense in intimate relationships.

13.        I'm alert to changes in my intimate relationships.

14.        I'm concerned about how my intimate relationship appears to others.

15.        I feel nervous when I interact with a partner in an intimate relationship.

16.        I'm very aware of changes in my intimate relationships.

17.        I usually worry about the impression my close relationships have on others.

18.        I am more anxious about intimate relationships than most people are.

19.        My thoughts sometimes drift toward the nature of my close relationships.

20.        I'm usually alert to others' reactions to my close relationships.

21.        I feel uncomfortable when I think about talking with an intimate partner.

22.        I seldom think about the dynamics of my intimate relationships.

23.        I sometimes wonder what others think about my intimate relationships.

24.        I would feel inhibited and shy in an intimate relationship.

25.        I think about my close relationships more than most people do.

26.        I'm not usually attentive to what others think about my intimate relationships.

27.        I would not be nervous about discussing issues with an intimate partner.

28.        I usually spend time thinking about my close relationships.

29.        I'm usually alert to others' reactions to my intimate relationships.

30.       I would feel anxious in a new intimate relationship.

 


 

SCORING INSTRUCTIONS
for the Relationship Awareness
Questionnaire


 

      The Relationship Awareness Questionnaire (RAQ) consists of the following three subscales:

 

1.Relational‑Consciousness           (Items 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 25, 28)

 

         The relational consciousness items refer to an awareness of one's interactions with an intimate partner.  They were designed to people's awareness of their intimate relationships.  People who endorse these items are those who introspect about their close relationship, who examine their relationship moods and motives, and who in general are reflective about the nature and dynamic features of their intimate relationships.

                    1.      I am very aware of what goes on in my close relationships.

                    4.      I reflect about my intimate relationships a lot.

                    7.      In general, I'm attentive to the nature of my close relationships.

                    10.   I'm always trying to understand my close relationships.

                    13.   I'm alert to changes in my intimate relationships.

                    16.   I'm very aware of changes in my intimate relationships.

                    19.   My thoughts sometimes drift toward the nature of my close relationships.

                    25.   I think about my close relationships more than most people do.

                    28.   I usually spend time thinking about my close relationships.

 

2.Relational‑Monitoring                     (Items 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 20, 23, 26, 29)

 

         The relational monitoring items refer to an awareness of other people's reactions to one's close relationships and one's intimate partner.  More specifically, these items were designed to people's public concern about their intimate relationships.  People who endorse these items are those who are concerned about the appearance of their close relationships to others, and in general about the impression which their intimate relationships make on others.

                    2.      I am very aware of what others think about my close relationships.

                    5.      I'm concerned about what other people think of my relationships.

                    8.      I'm concerned about the way my intimate relationships are presented to others.

                    11.   I'm usually aware of others' reactions to my close relationships.

                    14.   I'm concerned about how my intimate relationship appears to others.

                    20.   I'm usually alert to others' reactions to my close relationships.

                    23.   I sometimes wonder what others think about my intimate relationships.

                    26.   I'm not usually attentive to what others think about my intimate relationships. 
                               (Reverse‑coded)

                    29.   I'm usually alert to others' reactions to my intimate relationships.

 

3.Relational‑Anxiety                           (Items 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 30)

 

         The relational anxiety items refer to feelings and behaviors that occur during intimate interactions.  They were designed to tap inhibition and feelings of tension, discomfort, and awkwardness in intimate relationships.

                    3.      I usually feel quite anxious about my intimate relationships.

                    6.      It takes me time to get over my shyness in a new close relationship.

                    9.      Intimate relationships make me feel nervous and anxious.

                    12.   I am somewhat awkward and tense in intimate relationships.

                    15.   I feel nervous when I interact with a partner in an intimate relationship.

                    18.   I am more anxious about intimate relationships than most people are.

                    21.   I feel uncomfortable when I think about talking with an intimate partner.

                    24.   I would feel inhibited and shy in an intimate relationship.

                    30.   I would feel anxious in a new intimate relationship.

 

CODING INSTRUCTIONS FOR ITEMS

 

           For each item, the subjects were asked to indicate how much that statement characterized them.  A 5‑point Likert scale was used, with each item being scored from 0 to 4:  (A=0) not at all characteristic of me, (B=1) slightly characteristic of me, (C=2) somewhat characteristic of me, (D=3) moderately characteristic of me, (E=4) very characteristic of me.  In order to create subscale scores, the items assigned to each subscale were summed (after reverse coding certain items, shown above).  Higher scores on the Relationship Awareness Questionnaire thus correspond to greater relational‑consciousness, relational‑monitoring, and relational‑anxiety.



Copyright   2002
 William E. Snell, Jr., Ph.D.
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