Communication, gestures of affection, ability to reach agreements ... The dyadic adaptation scale (DAS) by Graham B. Spanier allows you to evaluate these and other aspects to know the degree of cohesion in the couple relationship.
Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.
Last update: 15 November 2022
The dyadic adjustment scale (DAS) is the most used psychological tool to assess the quality of a couple relationship, as well as the perception of its adaptation, satisfaction, commitment, etc. It is an accessible resource in the field of couples therapy, but also in the field of research. Thanks to it we can obtain valid and reliable information on the emotional bond of two people.
The term "fit" is likely to generate some doubt. What exactly is meant when referring to this aspect? Well, the word alone reminds us of two specific pieces which, due to their shape and characteristics, are more or less likely to adapt to each other and, therefore, to function. In a couple relationship, as we know, the same happens.
For example, adaptation means having the same values, knowing how to reach agreements, knowing how to manage difficult situations together, enjoying each other, have mutual respect, reciprocity ... It should be noted that this topic has always aroused great interest both in the psychological and sociological fields.
Studying the adaptation of couples helps us to better understand, for example, the separation or divorce rates in a society, as well as the degree of satisfaction or behavior of new generations compared to previous ones in this area. As can be understood, therefore, the dyadic adaptation scale (DAS) is a more than indispensable resource in many everyday scenarios.
On the other hand, it is interesting to know that since Graham Spanier, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, developed it in 1976, it has become a questionnaire used worldwide for its simplicity and excellent psychometric results. Let's see, therefore, what this scale consists of to evaluate our relationship as a couple.
"Never above you, never below you, always by your side."
Dyadic Adaptation Scale (DAS): aims and characteristics
The dyadic fit scale is intended for assess the degree of harmony and overall adaptation of the members of a couple relationship. Professor Spaniel himself, creator of this questionnaire, already pointed out at the time that the intent of the test was as follows:
Measuring the dyadic fit of a relationship based on aspects such as possible differences between partners, tensions, the presence of anxiety in the relationship and its intensity, degree of satisfaction, cohesion and ease or difficulty in reaching agreements .
One aspect of this tool that today's professionals greatly appreciate is its neutrality. That is, it can be applied to any profile (heterosexual, homosexual, married couple or not, etc.). Regardless of whether over 40 years have passed since Graham Spaniel introduced it, it is however a useful, practical and fascinating staircase.
The four areas of the dyadic scale of adaptation (DAS)
The dyadic fit scale is composed of 32 items established on the basis of four subscales. They are:
- Consent: skills, resources and competences to reach agreements. Through the questionnaire it is possible to know to what extent the couple reaches a balance in everyday life.
- Satisfaction. This aspect is fundamental in any emotional bond; it shows us the level of well-being, happiness, commitment ...
- Cohesion. This term refers to the degree of involvement of one member of the couple towards the other. So to interest, appreciation, the ability to find solutions to problems, to seek moments of sharing ...
- Affective expression. This subscale is an indispensable element in evaluating the fit of a couple. In fact, it refers to daily gestures that show love, affection. In addition, it is related to sex life and the satisfaction that comes with it.
What aspects do you rate the Spanier scale?
As we have highlighted, the dyadic fit scale consists of 32 items. The answers follow the Likert style, ie four options ranging from "totally agree" to "disagree".
The questionnaire is self-correcting, in order to obtain results quickly. You can compare the data from both partners to understand what each partner's strengths are, what problems and which areas to work on.
- 1. Management of family finances
- 2. Leisure
- 3. Religious issues
- 4. Affective manifestations
- 5. Friendship
- 6. Sexual intercourse
- 7. Conventionalisms
- 8. Philosophy of life
- 9. Relations with in-laws
- 10. Goals, goals, values
- 11. Time spent together
- 12. Make important decisions
- 13. Household duties
- 14. Interests and activities carried out during free time
- 15. Decisions relating to work
- 16. How often do you think about divorce or separation?
- 17. Do you leave home after a fight, if so how often?
- 18. How often do you think things are going well in the couple?
- 19. Do you trust your partner?
- 20. Do you mind being with your partner?
- 21. How often do you have discussions?
- 22. How often do you lose your temper?
- 24. Do you share activities outside the relationship?
- 25. Do you exchange stimulating ideas?
- 26. Do you laugh together?
- 27. Do you generally argue calmly?
- 28. Do you work together on any projects?
- 29. You are almost always too tired to have sex.
- 30. Is there an absence of displays of affection?
- 31. Assess how satisfied your relationship is
- 32 How do you see the future with your partner?
Is the Dyadic Fit Scale (DAS) reliable in assessing the couple relationship?
Studies such as the one conducted by Dr. Michael Carey of Boston University in the United States show that, in fact, the scale developed by Spanier in 1976 it still remains valid and reliable. Its four scales continue to be internally consistent, making it a resource capable of providing very important information.
It is not only possible to understand the degree of adaptation of a couple, but also to appreciate aspects of the personality among those evaluated and even evaluate the probability that the bond will be maintained or not in the future. We are faced with a questionnaire of great interest both in the field of psychological intervention and in the research sector.