Jamie Hsieh,   Marissa Engle,  Katie Heeg

                                                                   Marital Satisfaction Inventory



                  The purpose of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory is to assess the nature and extent of conflict within a marriage or relationship and to help couples communicate hard-to-express feelings, providing and easy, economical way to gather information about a broad range of issues.

                  The MSI was constructed by drawing from an original pool of 440 items.  These 440 items were then divided into 11 scales and administered to 13 couples from the general population and 13 matched couples in marital therapy.  Results from the two groups indicated that most of the scales were highly correlated with marital stress.

                  The MSI was designed for adults who are married or living together for at least six months.  It is especially useful as a diagnostic instrument to assess specific areas of marital discord and can be used to identify changes after a period of treatment.

            The MSI consists of 280 true-false items that include one Validity Scale (CNV), a global distress scale (GDS), and nine additional scales:  Affective Communication (AFC), Problem Solving Communication (PSC), Time Together (TTO), Disagreement About Finances (FIN), Sexual Dissatisfaction (SEX), Role Orientation (ROR), Family History of Distress (FAM), Dissatisfaction With Children (DSC), and Conflict Over Childrearing (CCR).  The Conventionalization Scale measures social desirability responding.  The Global Distress Scale measures global unhappiness and uncertain commitment to the marriage.  The other scales represent major areas of marital interaction and become sources of valuable information for the therapist.  Each scale is divided into several sub-scales. 
            Based on the 650 people in the standardized sample, coefficients of internal consistency ranged from 0.80 to 0.97, with a mean of 0.88.  Test-retest reliability coefficients ranged from 0.84 to 0.94, with a mean of 0.89.  Validation studies generally indicate high correlations with other measures of marital satisfaction for scales from the MSI that purport to measure general satisfaction.  Individual scales are generally supported by comparison between criterion groups. 
            The use of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory is helpful when evaluating marital satisfaction between couples.  This test can also be used with couples living together and those who attend pre-marital counseling.  The
Marital Satisfaction Inventory is very useful at the outset of therapeutic
treatment because the MSI can be used to assess specific areas of marital
discord and can be used to identify changes after a period of treatment.
The Marital Satisfaction Inventory should only be interpreted by a
professional who is experienced in test construction and interpretation.
The results of the raw scores for couples are plotted so that scale scores
for men and women are next to each other for easy comparison.
-Now I will discuss the pros and cons of the Marital Satisafaction Inventory:
-The Marital Satisfaction Inventory is relationship-specific and focused on
actual elements related to a couple's interaction (such as time together,
problem-solving communication, and role-orientation).
-The manual for the MSI is clearly written and provides needed information
along with clear explanations of what the information means.  The MSI also
contains a provision of interpretive guidelines and case examples to
demonstrate the interpretive approach.
-The individual scales are generally supported by comparison between
criterion groups including general marital therapy samples, divorce court
samples, wife abuse groups, and general population couples.
-The availability of standardized norms and the availability of item factor
analysis are strong features of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory.
-The validational data for each scale are limited and empirical support for
scale interpretation is lacking.
-The MSI's Profile Form, or the graphic display of husband and wife scores,
are very confusing.  Husband and wife scores are displayed for each scale
and each scale is a different color.  However, confusion results over which
score corresponds to the spouse's scores.  There is little separation of
scales and the lines that appear to go up together may not always indicate
an agreement.
-The Role Orientation, Family History of Distress, and the Dissatisfaction
with Children scales are very low in content validity.  The low content
validity in due to the fact that the test began with a series of marital
assessment interview questions and was not developed on some explicit
psychological theory.