Assessing "you," "me," and "us": A comprehensive measure of relational schemas



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Expectations about interpersonal relationships have been shown to be highly influential in terms of behavior, goals, affect, and interpersonal outcomes. However, one important conceptualization of these expectations, the relational schema, has been understudied, largely due to the lack of a clear, cohesive measure of schema content. The current study describes the development of a new measure of relational schemas, the Relational Schema Questionnaire (RSQ) which separately considers the self, partner, and relationship components of the schema and can also be used to assess relationships at varying levels of specificity. Four studies explored the nature of such a measure, first by investigating whether the script component of relational schemas is unique from trait descriptors of the relationship. Study 2 generated lists of common expectations about the self, partner, and relationship for a variety of different relationships which were used to form the RSQ. Study 3 explored the factor structure of the RSQ, and finally Study 4 explored the structure and construct validity of the measure. Results are discussed in terms of their theoretical and practical importance, and future research directions using the RSQ will be suggested.



Relational schema, Relationship cognition, Social cognition, Attachment, Measurement