Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Gilbert Mazer

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Brashear

Third Advisor

Dr. Malcolm Robertson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Edward Trembley


The primary purpose of this study was to establish the construct validity of the Marital Comparison Level Index (MCLI), an instrument designed by Sabatelli (1984) to assess the degree to which married individuals' outcomes compare with their marital expectations. A subordinate goal was to examine the relationship between expectations and satisfaction in marriage.

To accomplish these goals, the factorial content of the MCLI was compared with the factor structure of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS), a well-validated measure of marital satisfaction. Responses of 170 married individuals on both scales were factor analyzed using a principal components analysis with varimax rotation in separate and combined factor analyses. Factor scores were computed to compare differences between first married and remarried individuals on factors extracted from the MCLI and DAS. Correlation coefficients were also obtained to determine the degree of relationship between expectations and satisfaction for the same individuals.

Factor analyses of the MCLI and DAS revealed that the scales have similar factor structures. The combined rotation of both instruments identified five factors: Affectional Expression, Agreement, Compatibility, Household Responsibility, and Commitment. Although the factorial composition of the MCLI and DAS are similar, they measure these constructs differently. No significant differences were found between the mean factor scores of first married and remarried individuals on factors extracted from both adjustment scales.

The results of the study suggest that the MCLI is a valid instrument for assessing marital expectations. Furthermore, correlation coefficients between MCLI and DAS scores empirically demonstrate the positive relationship between marital expectations and satisfaction. Thus, the MCLI has the potential to become a valuable tool for clinicians by providing a simple and accurate means for assessing specific expectations and complaints in marriage.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Counseling Commons