Multi-dimensional

Scale: Network of Relationships Inventory-Social Provisions Version (NRI-SPV)

What it measures:

  • 10 characteristics of personal relationships (e.g., the mentoring relationship) as rated by the youth or mentor.

Intended age range: 8- to 18-year-old mentees; Mentors of all ages.

Brief description: The NRI-SPV is a 30-item scale that includes 10 3-item subscales: Companionship, Conflict, Instrumental Aid, Antagonism, Intimate Disclosure, Nurturance, Affection, Reassurance of Worth, Relative Power, and Reliable Alliance. Two global dimensions of relationship quality, Support and Negative Interactions, also can be computed. The items for the youth and mentor versions of the scale are identical except for slight differences in the items in the Instrumental Aid subscale (e.g., “How much do you teach this person how to do things that they don’t know?” versus “How much does this person teach you how to do things that you don’t know?”). The scale was developed to assess the quality of a wide range of relationships. However, it can also be administered focusing only on the relationship(s) of interest. The current 30-item NRI-SPV is a slightly revised version of the original NRI-SPV (Furman & Buhrmester, 1985). See the NRI manual for a description of this revision. Response options are: Little or none, Somewhat, Very much, Extremely much, or The most.

Rationale: The NRI-SPV was selected because it has a strong theoretical framework, evidence of reliability and validity, and a mentor and youth version. It also assesses a variety of relationship dimensions using only a few items per dimension.

Cautions: The application of the NRI-SPV to the assessment of mentor-mentee relationship characteristics is limited to only a few studies, and these studies have used the global dimensions of relationship quality or formed a support construct by averaging the Support subscale of the NRI-SPV with other measures of relationship satisfaction. Thus, although the validity of the NRI subscales is well established, the validity of individual subscales in the context of mentoring relationships is less clear.

Special administration information: A description of the scale’s items and how they map on to subscales of the NRI-SPV can be found on page 3 of the NRI manual. The manual describes how to administer the scale to ask about multiple relationships in the youth’s life. Programs interested in only assessing the mentoring relationship may simply use the following introduction prior to administering the scale items: “These questions ask about your relationship with your mentor. Please think about your mentor when answering them.” A mentor-report version replaces the term “mentor” in the introduction with “mentee.”

How to score: Each item is scored on a 5-point scale from 1 (Little or none) to 5 (The most). Subscale scores are calculated by averaging the 3 items corresponding to each of the 10 dimensions. Support is calculated by averaging items from the Companionship, Instrumental Aid, Intimate Disclosure, Nurturance, Affection, Admiration, and Reliable Alliance subscales. Negative Interactions is calculated by averaging items from the Conflict and Antagonism subscales.

How to interpret findings: Higher scores on NRI-SPV subscales reflect higher levels of the assessed relationship dimension.

Access and permissions: The Network of Relationships Inventory-SPV is available for non-commercial use with no charge. You may request permission to use the measure here. A full copy of the manual and measure can be obtained here.

Alternatives: None recommended.


Citations: Furman, W. & Buhrmester, D. (1985). Children's perceptions of the personal relationships in their social networks. Developmental Psychology, 21, 1016-1022.

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