Jeni Buckentine
Amanda Luciano
Dr. Mills
Psychology 442

Test Review and Critique

1. Name of the Test, Purpose and Publisher:

a. Test:
Marital Satisfaction Inventory—Revised (MSI-R)

b. Purpose:
The Marital Satisfaction Inventory—Revised is an inventory used for couples that are married or living together. According to Tests in Print, the purpose of the MSI-R is to “identify, separately for each partner in a relationship, the nature and extent of distress along several key dimensions of their relationship”(Murphy, Plake, Impara & Spies, 2002). The original Marital Satisfaction Inventory as well as the revised version was designed for therapists and counselors to use in addition to those couples who are considering or who have already begun conjoint therapy.
Test Critiques indicated that the original version of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory was intended for use by couples that had been married or living together for at least six months (Keyser & Sweetland, 1985). However, the Marital Satisfaction Inventory—Revised was designed for a wide range of couples such as same-sex partners, couples during courtship, and engaged couples. The revised version has also been used to assess different age groups and individuals with varying educational backgrounds from different areas of the country. In the clinical framework, the MSI-R is used for diagnosing a couple’s strengths and weaknesses. It is also administered for goal setting as well as rapport building and enhancement of communication abilities. The MSI-R can also be applied to assess the progress and outcome of marital therapy as well as the effectiveness of therapy for the couples. Often the MSI-R assesses the home environment for adolescents who are emotionally or behaviorally troubled.

c. Publisher:
According to Tests in Print, Western Psychological Services published the MSI-R (Murphy et al., 2002).

2. Construction Methodology:
The MSI-R applied the factor analytic method on 12 of the 13 subscales. The inconsistency scale was excluded. Through factor analysis, it was disclosed that three components comprised 64% of the total variance. The factor that accounted for the most common variance included the subscales that related to the emotional and communicative aspects of the relationship. The other factors revealed concerns related to children as well as parental and marital roles (Plake & Impara, 2001).
The Fourteenth Mental Measurement Yearbook reviews of the MSI-R also indicated that an actuarial approach was used in order to create an empirical foundation for interpreting individual test scores. This approach was conducted by identifying the relationship between subscales of the inventory with external criteria. A contingent frequency table was then constructed to identify the ranges of scores, which correlated to “above-chance livelihoods that the external criterion will present” (Plake & Impara, 2001).

3. Evidence of Reliability:
The Fourteenth Mental Measurements Yearbook found internal consistency to be high on the Revised Marital Satisfaction Inventory. Coefficients for individual scales range from .70 to .93, with a mean of .82. The reliability is slightly lower than that estimated in the original MSI due to the wide shift focus in the revised inventory. Retention of items in the revised instrument was not based only upon their contribution to internal consistencies of the subscales but were also founded upon reflecting a wider range of endorsement rates and item content (Plake & Impara, 2001). The alpha mean of the original MSI was .88.
Information on the inventory’s test-retest reliability was also provided. Test-retest evaluates the correlation between two test formats taken by the same individual at different times. The result of the correlation is the reliability coefficient. Test-retest coefficients for this inventory had a high positive range of .74 to .88, with a mean of .79. This alpha mean also showed less reliability than the original MSI by a .10 difference. According to The Fourteenth Mental Measurements Yearbook, fewer items of the revised edition seemed to account for the negative change in reliability coefficients due to the shorter administration time (Plake & Impara, 2001). Where the original version of the instrument contained 280 items, the MSI-R used only 150 items. Since the interval between the two forms of the inventory was a moderate length of six weeks, we can place further confidence on this coefficient range. The interval is long enough to offset practice effects, but a short enough time frame to minimize the opportunity for test takers and the testing situation to change significantly.

4. Evidence of Validity:
Both The Fourteenth Mental Measurements Yearbook (2001) and Test Critiques III (1985) provide information on the MSI’s validity. According to the reviews in Test Critiques, the efforts in examining the validity of the MSI provided a solid foundation for the revised instrument to measure spousal satisfaction in marriage and romantic relationships. The author’s study demonstrates the criterion-related validity of the inventory. The test manual provided data on this information through correlation coefficients and documentation of scores that discriminate between couples in therapy and couples in the matched control group. Specific coefficients of the criterion, however, are not provided in this particular critique.
An additional scale on the MSI-R, labeled the Inconsistency Scale, represents an index to show response consistency and random responding (Plake & Impara, 2001). The addition of this particular scale is seen as an asset since it may aid in minimizing social desirability. Inconsistent scores on this scale may reflect a participant’s tendency to idealize a relationship. The correlation between the MSI and the MSI-R ranges from .94 to .98. The median is .95.5. The availability of computerized scoring and a profile generation service suggests high scorer reliability, since it undermines the possibility of error in subjective scoring by scorers of the MSI (Keyser & Sweetland, 1985).

5. The Pros of the test according to reviewers:
According to The Fourteenth Mental Measurement Handbook, the new version of the inventory may be more appealing to researchers than the original MSI-R because the length was shortened. Other advantages of the MIS-R are the well-explained and user-friendly description of the inventory, the larger more representational sample size, and the revision of the test items to make the inventory more current. The most important advantage of the MSI-R is including the various subscales that focus on measuring several different areas of a relationship. These advantages make the revised MSI a more powerful instrument than the previous version. These benefits and improvements of the MSI may encourage many more therapists and researchers to use the inventory (Plake & Impara, 2001).

6. The Cons of the test according to reviewers:
The Fourteenth Mental Measurement Handbook revealed that although there were several pros to the MSI-R, there are also cons to the inventory. The revised version of the MSI is compatible for clinical use. However, it was questioned whether this inventory would be helpful for researchers to use as well. Also, internal consistency estimates are lower than in the original MSI and test-retest reliability is slightly lower in the revised addition due to the smaller number of inventory items and shorter administration time (Plake & Impara, 2001).


Keyser, D. J. and Sweetland, R. C. (Eds). (1985). Test critiques (Vol. III). Lincoln Nebraska: Buros Institute of

Mental Measurments at the University of Nebraska.
Murphy, L. L., Plake, B. S., Impara, J. C., and Spies, R. A. (Eds). (2002). Tests in

print (Vol. VI). Lincoln, Nebraska: The Buros Institute of Mental Measurements at the

University of Nebraska.

Plake, B.S. and Impara, J. C. (Eds). (2001). The fourteenth mental measurements

yearbook. Lincoln, Nebraska: The Buros Institute of Mental Measurements at the

University of Nebraska.