Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory (BLRI)巴雷莱纳关系问卷简介

Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory (BLRI)


In 1956, Barrett-Lennard was a graduate student at the Counseling  Center of the University of Chicago looking for a topic for his doctoral thesis,  when Rogers first circulated his theoretical formulation of the relationship conditions  (one year before its publication). For his doctoral research, Barrett-Lennard decided  to test Rogers‘ theory with actual clients in therapy (Barrett-Lennard, 1959). However,  there were yet no measures of the therapist-to-client relationship conditions  and then Barrett-Lennard had to ‘invent them from the ground up’ (Barrett-Lennard,  2002, p. 65). Barrett-Lennard reasoned that the relationship ‘as experienced by  the client would be most crucially related to the outcome of therapy’ (Barrett-Lennard,  2002, p. 67).Consequently, he decided to focus his instrument on the client’s  perceptions of the therapist’s attitudes in the relationship, supplemented by the therapist’s  views of his/her own responses.

Description of the instrument

The BLRI comprises four subscales: ‘Empathic Understanding共情式理解’, ‘Level  of Regard关注程度’, ‘Unconditionality无条件性’, and ‘Congruence一致性’. Barrett-Lennard (1962) considered  that the concept of Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR) could not be treated  as a unitary dimension or single variable, and therefore he separated UPR into  two distinct variables: ‘Level of Regard’ and ‘Unconditionality’. In the initial  version of the instrument, Barrett-Lennard (1962) had included a fifth variable  called ‘Willingness to be known’ but the results for this variable were ambiguous and  he decided to drop it from later versions of the inventory. However, some elements  of this scale were absorbed into the Congruence dimension (Barrett-Lennard, 1978, 1986).

The BLRI is structured as a self-report questionnaire, with a six-point  bipolar rating scale ranging from -3 (‘NO, I strongly feel that it is not  true’) to +3 (‘YES , I strongly feel that it is true’). The 64-item BLRI (Barrett-Lennard,  1978), the version most widely used today (Barrett-Lennard, 1998; 2003), contains 16  items (8 positively worded and 8 negatively worded) for each of the four sub-scales.  Examples of items from the 64-item client form (Other-to-Self, or OS) are presented  in the table below.

Clients are asked to mentally insert the name of the therapist in  the underlined space in each item.



37. Level of Regard (+)

______ is friendly and warm toward me.

33. Level of Regard (-)

______ just tolerates me.

30. Empathic Understanding (+)

_____ realises what I mean even when I havedifficulty in saying it.

58. Empathic Understanding (-)

______’s response to me is usually so fixed and automatic that I don’t get through to him/her.

51. Unconditionality (+)

Whether thoughts and feelings I express are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ makes no difference to ______’s feeling toward me.

11. Unconditionality (-)

Depending on the way I am, ______ has a better (or  worse) opinion of me sometimes than at other times.

12. Congruence (+)

I feel that ______ is real and genuine with me.

52. Congruence (-)

There are times when I feel that ______’s outward response to me is quite different from the way he/she feels underneath.

The items in the therapist’s form (‘Myself-to-the-Other’, or MO)  are worded in the first person for therapists to describe their response to their  clients. These items are equivalent to the items in the client’s form (Barrett-Lennard, 1986).  However, this equivalence is not exact because that would make the items sound  ‘unnatural’ (Barrett-Lennard, 2002, p.71). The following examples (see over) of the therapist’s  form (MO) correspond to like-numbered items in the client’s form (OS)  listed above.


The first version (1962) of the BLRI consisted of 85 items, but  since then the instrument has undergone a number of modifications, which have resulted  in a considerable reduction in the number of items. These modifications  have primarily been directed toward enhancing the wording of the items and reducing  response bias by balancing positively and negatively stated items. However, the  essential structure and rationale of the various versions are identical to the original  one (Barrett-Lennard, 2002; 2003).



37. Level of Regard (+)

I feel friendly and warm toward ______ .

33. Level of Regard (-)

 I put up with ______ .

30. Empathic Understanding (+)

 I can tell what ______ means, even when he/she has difficulty in saying it.

58. Empathic Understanding (-)

I often respond to ______ rather automatically,without taking in what he/she is experiencing.

51. Unconditionality (+)

Whether ______ is expressing ‘good’ thoughts and feelings, or ‘bad’ ones, does not affect the way I feel toward him/her.

11. Unconditionality (-)

Depending on ______’s actions, I have a better opinion of him/her sometimes than I do at other times.

12. Congruence (+)

I feel that I am genuinely myself with ______.

52. Congruence (-)

There are times when my outward response to ______ is quite different from the way I feel underneath.

The only substantial alteration of the BLRI has been the 40-item  version, which has 10 items for each subscale (Barrett-Lennard, 2002). In this version,  Barrett-Lennard not only dropped some items, but he also merged some others and  reversed the positive/negative wording of a few items. These modifications were  based more on ‘experience and judgement’ than on psychometric analysis of the  items (Barrett-Lennard, 2002, p. 73).

Moreover, many distinct adaptations of the main 64-item and 40-item  forms have been developed for particular uses or for specific populations.  There are BLRI forms developed for students/teachers, children, groups, dyads,  ‘relational life space’, supervisory relationships, nurse/patient, and doctor/patient relationships. Other further developments include an observer form (O-64) and a form  for group members outside of therapy (OS-G-64) (Barrett-Lennard, 1984, 1998, 2002,  2003).

Other researchers have also added items to the original BLRI for  the purposes of their own investigation. For instance, Lietaer (1976) added items  related to ‘directivity’ in his Dutch-language translation, and Cramer (1986a)  added an ‘advice-given’ scale to the BLRI in his study.


The initial items in the BLRI were derived from Rogers’ (1957) paper  and from the Relationship Q-Sort (Bown, 1954). The content of these items were  revised following discussions with the staff members at the University of Chicago  Counseling Center. According to Barrett-Lennard (1962), ‘the preparation of items involved  constant interaction between theory and operational expression and resulted  in a continuous growth and progressive refinement of meaning relating to each concept’  (p. 6). The construct validity of the BLRI is also supported by the formal content-validation procedure carried out to eliminate non-differential items. Five  qualified judges (Rogers ‘might have been’ one of them1)  analyzed and checked carefully each item in order to eliminate items that did not express the variable they were designed  to represent (Barrett-Lennard, 1978). The subscales were derived using a combination  of item analysis and rational-theoretical considerations (Barrett-Lennard,  1959). Moreover, according to Barrett-Lennard, the considerable range of independent  studies that have demonstrated an association between the BLRl and therapy outcome  provides substantial evidence of ‘predictive construct validity’ (Barrett-Lennard,  1998, 2003)


In an extensive review of the evidence on the BLRI, Gurman (1977)  reported internal reliability data from 14 studies (five in actual therapy settings,  four in therapy analogue settings, and five studies on other type of relationships, e.g.,  teachers, parents, and friends) with differing versions of the instrument. The mean internal consistency reliabilities across these 14 studies (four of them used alpha coefficients,  the others used split-half reliabilities) were .91 for Level of Regard, .88  for Congruence, .84 for Empathy, .74 for Unconditionality and .91 for the total score. These  results indicate that the 85-item and 64-item forms of the BLRI have high internal  reliability.

There are no psychometric data reported on the 40-item version,  although the reliability is expected to be a little lower, given the reduced  number of items. Thus, Barrett-Lennard recommends the use of the 64-item version ‘where  length is not a problem’ (Barrett-Lennard, 2002, p. 74).

Intercorrelation of the BLRI subscales

Gurman (1977) reviewed 16 studies that reported intercorrelations  among the BLRI subscales and concluded that (a) Empathy, Level of Regard, and Congruence  present a moderate positive correlation, i.e., these dimensions ‘appear to  be relatively dependent’; (b) Unconditionality bears a very low (and in one case negative)  correlation with the other dimensions (i.e., it is ‘quite independent’); and (c) Empathy,  Level of Regard, and Congruence are all either moderately or highly correlated to the  total score (p. 510).

Factor Analysis

Gurman (1977), after reviewing three studies that factor analysed  the BLRI using item inter-correlation, concluded that the BLRI is ‘tapping dimensions  that are quite consistent with Barrett-Lennard’s original work on the inventory’  (p. 513). However, he pointed out that more factor-analytic work on the BLRI on actual  therapy settings should be undertaken. Almost ten years later, Cramer (1986b) factor analysed the original version of the BLRI and found that the first four factors  accounted for 49.5% of the variance and reflected the four subscales postulated  by the instrument. However, according to Cramer, half of the items did not “clearly  distinguish the four factors”, and he concluded that “further refinement of this questionnaire  was necessary to improve its factorial validity” (p. 126).

Further comments

The BLRI has been the most extensively used measure in PCE psychotherapy  research. It has been considered the most suitable instrument to test Rogers’  theory of the relationship conditions since it taps into the client’s perceptions  of the therapeutic relationship (Asay & Lambert, 2001; Gurman, 1977; Lockhart, 1984;  Watson & Prosser, 2002). The BLRI has gained wide reputation and has been  translated in many languages, including Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Greek,  Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Spanish, and Swedish (Barrett-Lennard,  2002).

The usage of the BLRI has expanded beyond the psychotherapeutic  context to wider applications in other human service contexts and significant personal  life relationships (e.g. family, friendship, work, and classroom relationships). ).  An important strength of the BLRI is its extensive use in clinical settings and its validation  primarily in actual counselling interactions, rather than analogue settings.  However, the use of different forms, modifications of content and response format, and  the use of isolated sub-scales (usually empathy) rather than the whole inventory by  various researchers have posed significant challenges to its further empirical validation  and systematic psychometric assessment (Ponterotto, & Furlong, 1985).


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