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How to assess Interpersonal Values and Motives

Individuals’ feelings and behaviors in interpersonal situations depend in part on their interpersonal values. For example, being told what to do may be a relief to someone who values submission, but a humiliation to someone who values dominance. Consequently, many psychotherapies seek to change feelings and behavior by changing values; for example, cognitive and rational–emotive therapies often have clients question the extreme value they place on certain interpersonal experiences, such as needing others to show respect.

The Circumplex Scales of Interpersonal Values (CSIV; Locke, 2000) is a 64-item measure of the value individuals place on interpersonal experiences associated with each octant of the IPC. The values the CSIV measures are akin to the “subjective values” of cognitive social learning theory (Mischel, 1973) and “incentive values” of expectancy-value theory (Atkinson, 1964; Eccles & Wigfi eld, 2002). While these are sometimes referred to as “motives” (Horowitz, 2004), the term “values” follows McClelland’s (1980, 1985) distinction between implicit “motives” that are measured by the Thematic Apperception Test and “values” that are measured by selfreport inventories such as the CSIV.

The CSIV asks respondents to rate the importance of 64 interpersonal experiences, with eight items associated with each octant of the IPC. For each item, respondents indicate, on a scale from 0 (not important) to 4 (extremely important) how important it is that they act or appear or are treated that way in interpersonal situations. Sample items are shown in Table 15.1. The CSIV form, scoring program, and norms are available at The scales have adequate internal consistency and test–retest reliability, a circumplex structure, and convergent and discriminant validity in relation to measures of interpersonal traits, interpersonal goals, interpersonal problems, personality disorders, and implicit power and intimacy motives assessed by the Thematic Apperception Test (Locke, 2000).

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