Dispositional authenticity, perceived facilitativeness, conditions of worth, and relational outcomes in romantic relationships: empirical tests of Carl Rogers’ theory of personality and interpersonal relationships

Chen, Shun (2022) Dispositional authenticity, perceived facilitativeness, conditions of worth, and relational outcomes in romantic relationships: empirical tests of Carl Rogers’ theory of personality and interpersonal relationships. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Carl Rogers founded client-centred therapy in the 1940s and 1950s, which is a revolutionary paradigm for conceptualising human experiences in psychotherapy and counselling. Along with the extension of its applications to other fields, the term ‘person-centred approach’ was increasingly being used to replace the old term. However, Rogers left academia two years after the person-centred approach began to make an impact in social psychology. Little empirical attention has been paid to the person-centred approach in the field of social psychology; some important hypotheses remained untested. The person-centred psychology offers a systematic theory of personality and interpersonal relationships, but its potential to integrate different social psychological theories has not been fully realised. To expand the impact of the person-centred approach in social psychology, the objectives of this thesis were: examining the psychometric properties of an important psychometric tool in the person-centred approach and promoting its utility; testing the person-centred theory in opposite- and same-gender couples. Four independent but interrelated studies were conducted to achieve these objectives.

The first study (N = 1,286) investigated measurement invariance between English, Chinese, and Spanish language versions of the Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory (B-L RI) that was designed to assess the extent to which a person experiences unconditional positive regard, empathic understanding, and genuineness in a relationship. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the B-L RI measures a unidimensional construct representing facilitativeness in non-professional relationships. Partial scalar invariance was established for the B-L RI scores across the three language versions.

In the second study, a mini form of the B-L RI was developed in order to improve the utility of its original version. Twelve out of the full 64 items were selected to form the B-L RI:mini based on their discrimination, difficulty, information, and measurement invariance across the English (n = 298), Chinese (n = 658), and Spanish (n = 330) language versions of the inventory by using item response theory. The B-L RI:mini showed excellent total internal consistency, temporal stability, and construct validity.

The third study examined: (a) the mediating roles of Carl Rogers’ facilitative interpersonal conditions (i.e., genuineness, empathic understanding, and unconditional positive regard) and (b) the moderating roles of femininity ideology in the association between dispositional authenticity and dyadic relationship functioning using a dyadic approach. Participants, 239 opposite-gender couples, completed the Authenticity Scale, Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory:mini, Femininity Ideology Scale, and Dyadic Adjustment Scale in two separate phases. Longitudinal data were analysed using the actor-partner interdependence (mediation/moderation) model (APIM, APIMeM, and APIMoM) within a structural equation modelling framework. The results of APIMeM showed that perceived facilitativeness mediated the positive associations from dispositional authenticity to dyadic relationship functioning both interpersonally and intrapersonally. The APIMoM revealed that men’s femininity ideology inhibited the positive impact of their own dispositional authenticity on their own dyadic relationship functioning. Interestingly, one’s femininity ideology buffered the negative impact of one’s own self-alienation on one’s own dyadic relationship functioning.

The fourth study with 158 same-gender couples examined the relationships between dispositional authenticity / perceived facilitativeness / internalised homophobia and perceived relationship quality. Actor-partner interdependence models showed that one’s dispositional authenticity / perceived facilitativeness was positively related to one’s own and one’s partner’s perceived relationship quality. In contrast, one’s internalised homophobia was negatively related to one’s own and one’s partner’s perceived relationship quality. Moreover, individuals’ dispositional authenticity partially mediated the positive relationship between their own perceived facilitativeness and perceived relationship quality. Internalised homophobia was found to moderate the relationships between external aspects of dispositional authenticity and perceived relationship quality within same-gender couples.

This thesis offers a new psychometric tool to assess the facilitative relationship conditions deemed important for constructive personality change, provides empirical support for the person-centred theory in combination with other psychological theories, and proposes a new theory to understand psychological maladjustment in romantic relationships under the person-centred framework. This thesis may provide reference values for building bridges between the person-centred approach and mainstream psychology.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Murphy, David
Joseph, Stephen
Keywords: Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory; interpersonal relationships; confirmatory factor analysis; measurement invariance; person-centred theory; dyadic adjustment; femininity ideology; internalised homophobia; dyadic study
Subjects: H Social sciences > HM Sociology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 69324
Depositing User: Chen, Shun
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2022 04:40
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2022 04:40
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/69324

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