Understanding Everyday Relationship Work: The Development of a Relationship Maintenance Scale


  • Jill M. Chonody Indiana University Northwest
  • Mike Killian University of Texas at Arlington
  • Jacqui Gabb The Open University
  • Priscilla Dunk-West Flinders University




Relationship maintenance, scale development, psychometrics, couple relationship


Relationship maintenance behaviors contribute to the longevity of intimate relationships, yet existing scales are limited. Available measurement tools are primarily constrained to the Relationship Maintenance Strategy Measure (RMSM) and its further revisions. Covering a number of domains, conceptual overlap with other aspects of an intimate relationship (e.g., household division of labor) may exist. Our cross-sectional exploratory study included participants from 60 countries (n=8,162) who completed an online survey. Participants were diverse in their relationship status, age, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity. From their responses, we developed a parsimonious and brief measure of relationship maintenance (8 items) through exploratory and then confirmatory factor analyses. Results indicated that the Relationship Maintenance Scale (RMS) shows initial evidence of reliability and validity. The RMS may have utility in working with couples and families. Future research should seek to re-test its use with varied samples, such as couples seeking relationship support.

Author Biography

Jill M. Chonody, Indiana University Northwest

Associate Professor Social Work



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