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Interpersonal Adjective Scales

Jerry S. Wiggins, PhD

Measures the two most important dimensions of interpersonal behavior, Dominance and Nurturance, in college students and adults
Paper and pencil
Age range:
16 years to 89 years
15 minutes
Qualification level:
A degree from an accredited 4-year college or university in psychology, counseling, speech-language pathology, or a closely related field plus satisfactory completion of coursework in test interpretation, psychometrics and measurement theory, educational statistics, or a closely related area; or license or certification from an agency that requires appropriate training and experience in the ethical and competent use of psychological tests. Close

The IAS is a self-report instrument that yields a reliable, valid, efficient, and theoretically sound assessment of the two primary dimensions of interpersonal transactions: Dominance and Nurturance. It provides important information about how an individual typically behaves in different interpersonal situations. The structural model underlying this instrument has been applied widely within the area of clinical psychology and personality assessment over the last 35 years.

The IAS was normed on 4,000 college students and adults, and separate norms are available for each group. Administration and scoring can be performed by individuals who have no formal training in psychology or related fields. IAS interpretation requires professional training in clinical or counseling psychology.

The test materials consist of the IAS Professional Manual, a 4-page Test Booklet, a 1-page glossary of terms, and a 4-page Scoring Booklet. The IAS Professional Manual includes information concerning the usefulness of this instrument in a clinical context and provides normative information as well as case illustrations. The test booklet lists 64 adjectives that describe interpersonal interactions. Respondents use an 8-point Likert scale (ranging from Extremely Inaccurate to Extremely Accurate) to rate how accurately each adjective describes them as individuals. The glossary clarifies the meaning of the 64 adjectives and is an important part of the test. The IAS requires 10th-grade reading ability.

The scoring booklet provides instructions for summing and scoring the respondent's answers and plotting these scores on the interpersonal circumplex. Responses to the 64 adjectives yield scores on eight interpersonal interactions (Assured-Dominant, Arrogant-Calculating, Cold-Hearted, Aloof-Introverted, Unassured-Submissive, Unassuming-Ingenuous, Warm-Agreeable, and Gregarious-Extraverted). These interpersonal types are distributed continuously around a circle whose primary axes are Dominance and Nurturance.

The IAS measures the respondent's interpersonal type and the intensity of that type and utilizes a framework within which all interpersonal behaviors may be represented as "blends" of the two primary axes. The IAS may be conveniently converted to an observer rating form by changing the instructions from rating self to rating a specified other person.

In most clinical situations, the IAS should be supplemented by instruments that measure additional dimensions of personality, particularly the remaining dimensions of the 5-factor model. In screening and research contexts, the efficiency of the IAS may justify its use as the single instrument of choice.