Project Director: Jean Baker Miller Training Institute
This measurement instrument was introduced as a dynamic way to assess women's psychological development and ways in which relationships and connections foster psychological wellbeing.
In 1991, the Relational Model was first proposed by feminist scholars at the Stone Center for Developmental Services and Studies, now a part of the Wellesley Centers for Women, as an innovative theoretical paradigm for the assessment of women's psychological development and wellbeing. It was distinguished by its emphasis on gender difference and on the power of caretaking and relationships in women's lives. Since its introduction, the Relational Model has inspired a critical discourse on the model's relevance to women's developmental needs and adjustment, as well as the cross-cultural and cross-gender generalizability of the model. Although these debates have provided considerable theoretical grist backed by compelling case material, more extensive empirical confirmation of the Model has been limited by the lack of validated tools.
This project aims to address the need for empirically validated tools that will enable further exploration of the ways in which relationships foster psychological wellbeing. Its goals are the development and validation of formal assessment tools of the Relational Model. The project employs the new measure in a pilot study conducted with an ethnically diverse sample of college undergraduates, an opportunity to establish the reliability, validity, and generalizability of the measure's concepts. A further study objective is to utilize the new, validated tool in furthering empirical research on women's development. The project is strategically based at the Stone Center to accommodate collaboration between researchers and Relational Model theorists associated with the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute.