Measuring Dyadic/Tribal Affiliation

  • Kristin Sommer
  • Joseph Ogilvie


Gender differences in belongingness provide fecund ground for the study of intrapsychic and interpersonal behavior. As such, the development of a scale measuring large versus small sphere orientation can provide a measure of predictive validity for many psychosocial processes (e.g., interpersonal rejection, self-esteem, and aggression). For example, within the two-sphere framework, interpersonal rejection would be far more injurious to the male ego when in the presence of a group because such acts are perceived as threats to establishing a broader social network. Threats to self-esteem would likewise be more damaging to the male when in the company of a group because of the fear of being perceived as weak by others; a characteristic that would also hamper the need for broader, social spheres. We would also predict that aggression in domestic violence may, in fact, be moderated by the two-sphere typology: males who are abusive within the family unit would also generalize this abuse to a larger sphere; whereas females would tend to localize aggression within the confines of the family unit the smaller sphere. Currently this assumption is partly supported by research on domestic violence (Strauss, 1980; Breslin, Riggs, O'leary & Arias, 1990; O'leary et al., 1989, cited in Baumeister & Sommer, 1997, p. 40). We expect that the development and validation of a scale that adequately taps the constructs within the two-sphere typology will augment and, perhaps, provide alternate means from which to view behavioral differences in gender.


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Breslin, F. C., Riggs, D. S., O' Leary, K. D., & Arias, I. (1990). Family precursors: Expected and actual consequences of dating aggression. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 5, 247-258.

Cross, S. E., & Madson, L. . (1997). Models of the self: Self-construals and gender. Psyhcological Bulletin, 1 (122), 5-37.

Gabriel, S., & Gardner, W. L. (1999). Are there "his" and "hers" types of interdependence? The implications of gender differences in collective versus relational interdependence for affect, behavior, and cognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 3 (77), 642-655.

O' Leary, K. D., Barling, J., Arias, I., Rosenbaum, A., Malone, J., & Tyree, A. (1989). Prevalence and stability of physical aggression between spouses: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 57, 263-268.

Strauss, M. (1980). Victims and aggressors in marital violence. American Behavioral Scientist, 23, 681-704.