The Value Profile comprehen­sively records the values that guide interper­sonal relations. From diverse sources, Bales and Couch collected a large array of rele­vant normative statements, which they sub­ mitted to methodical interpretrative and fac­ tor analytic procedures. Four interpersonal value dimensions were identified.

Acceptance of Authority measured values that social scientists typically attribute to the authoritarian personality. Loading most strongly on this factor was the belief that “obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn.” High scores on the Need-Determined Expression versus Value-Determined Re­straint factor were indicative of an active pursuit of pleasure. This value was most ev­ ident in the assertion that “since there are no values that can be eternal, the only real val­ues are those that meet the needs of the given moment.” Equalitarianism was de­ fined most strongly by the claim that “everyone should have an equal chance and an equal say.” A final Individualism factor was most obvious in the statement that “to be superior a man must stand alone.”


In attempting to create anex­baustive list of interpersonal values, Bales and Couch consulted well-known social sci­entific treatments of values, had access to a several unpublished dissertations, and de­veloped a number of new items. They collected 872 normative statements. A concep­tual framework based on previous research was utilized to organize these items into 16 meaningful categories. Within each cate­ gory, duplicate articulations of a value were eliminated. Others were combined in a sin­gle sentence.

The remaining 252 items were included in a self-report questionnaire. Reactions to each value occurred along a 6-point agreement scale with no mid-point. Scores on the re­sponse format ranged from l to 7; “4” was reserved for instances in which no response was made. This scale was administered to a sample of 552 individuals consisting of un­dergraduates from Harvard University, Rad­cliffe University, and Bennington College; a few faculty members and graduate students from Harvard; and officer candidates from an Air Force base. Based on preliminary analy­ses, two types of statements were eliminated: those that displayed little response variability and those that in correlational data proved to be empirically redundant. The remaining 143 items were factor analyzed.

The final Value Profile included only those articulations of a value that loaded ex­clusively on a single factor. In other words, the goal was to create independent measures of the four broad value domains. Ten items were used to define each factor, and except for three statements from the Need-Deter­ mined Expression Scale, all were positively worded.

In a previous review of this instrument, Robinson and Shaver (1973) concluded that “this scale is useful because it is extremely comprehensive, seemingly representing a very large domain of value positions on which people differ” (p. 529). Subsequent re­ search has confirmed that the Value Profile can be useful (e.g., Watson & Morris, 1994).

Practical Considerations:

 The Value Profile is a fairly standard self-report questionnaire. Four- and five- rather than six-point re­sponse options have been used successfully in at least some studies (e.g., Tyson, Doctor, Mentis, 1988; Watson Morris, 1994).

Robinson and Shaver (1973) estimated that the profile could be completed within 25 to 40 minutes. The reading level does not ap­ pear to be especially challenging.


 Bales and Couch did not supply norms, nor would such data have been particularly useful. As these re­ searchers stressed in evaluating their sub­ jects, “This sample, though decently large, is not so diverse as one would like for gen­ eral theoretical purposes, since values differ so markedly cross-culturally” (pp. 5-6).

Reliability: Internal and temporal consis­tency data were not reported. Factor load­ings ranged from .56 to .76 for Acceptance of Authority, .20 to .62 for Need-Deter­ mined Expression, .36 to .57 for Equalitari­anism, and .28 to .49 for Individualism. Based on these loadings, Robinson and Shaver (1973) estimated that the average in­teritem correlation for Acceptance of Au­thority was in the .40s whereas these figures were were presumed to be in the high teens for the other three measures.


 In the Bales and Couch study, au­thoritarianism as measured by the F Scale loaded strongly on the Acceptance of Author­ity factor. The implications of this finding re­ main unclear given subsequent controversies over the meaning of the F Scale (e.g., Ray, 1976). Bales and Couch supplied no addi­tional data that could testify to the validity of their instrument. Again, however, at least some supportive evidence has been presented elsewhere (e.g., Watson Morris, 1994).

Value Profile

This questionnaire is designed to measure the extent to which you hold each of several gen­ eral attitudes or values common in our society. On the following pages you will find a series of general statements expressing opinions of the kind you may have heard from other per­ sons around you. After each statement, there is a set of possible responses as follows:

strongly disagree, disagree, slightly disagree, slightly agree, agree, strongly agree

You are asked to read each of the statements and then to circle the response which best represents your immediate reaction to the opinion expressed. Respond to each opinion as a whole. If you have reservations about some part of a statement, circle the response which most clearly approximates your general feeling.

Acceptance of Authority

  1. Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn.
  2. There is hardly anything lower than a person who does not feel a great love, gratitude, and respect for his parents.
  3. What youth need most is strict discipline, rugged determination, and the will to work and fight for family and country.
  4. You have to respect authority and when you stop respecting authority, your situation isn’t worth much.
  5. Patriotism and loyalty are the first and the most important requirements for a good cit­ izen.
  6. Young people sometimes get rebellious ideas, but as they grow up they ought to get over them and settle down.
  7. A child should not be allowed to talk back to his parents, or else he will lose respect for them.
  8. The facts on crime and sexual immorality show that we will have to crack down harder on young people if we are going to save our moral standards.
  9. Disobeying an order is one thing you can’t excuse-if one can get away with disobedi­ence, why can’t everybody?
  10. A well-raised child is one who doesn’t have to be told twice to do something.

Need-Determined Expression vs. Value-Determined Restraint

  1. l. Since there are no values which can be eternal, the only real values are those which meet the needs of the given moment.
  2. Nothing is static, nothing is everlasting; at any moment one must be ready to meet the change in environment by a necessary change in one’s moral views.
  3. Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
  4. The solution to almost any human problem should be based on the situation at the time, not on some general moral rule.
  5. Life is something to be enjoyed to the full, sensuously enjoyed with relish and enthusi­asm.
  6. Life is more a festival than a workshop or a school for moral discipline.
  7. The past is no more, the future may never be, the present is all that we can be certain of.
  8. *8. Not to attain happiness but to be worthy of it is the purpose of our existence.
  9. *9. No time is better spent than that devoted to thinking about the ultimate purposes of life.
  10. *10. Tenderness is more important than passion in love.


  1. I. Everyone should have an equal chance and an equal say.
  2. There should be equality for everyone because we are all human beings.
  3. A group of equals will work a lot better than a group with a rigid hierarchy.
  4. Each one should get what he needs-the things we have belong to all of us.
  5. No matter what the circumstances, one should never arbitrarily tell people what they have to do.
  6. It is the duty of every good citizen to correct antiminority remarks made in his pres­ence.
  7. Poverty could be almost entirely done away with if we made certain basic changes in our social and economic system.
  8. There has been too much talk and not enough real action in doing away with racial dis­ crimination.
  9. In any group it is more important to keep a friendly atmosphere than to be efficient.
  10. I0. In a small group there should be no real leaders-everyone should have an equal say.


  1. To be superior, a man must stand alone.
  2. In life an individual should for the most part “go it alone,” assuring himself of privacy, having much time to himself, attempting to control his own life.
  3. It is the man who stands alone who excites our admiration.
  4. The rich internal world of ideals, of sensitive feelings, of reverie, of self-knowledge, is man’s true home.
  5. One must avoid dependence upon persons or things; the center of life should be found within oneself.
  6. The most rewarding object of study any man can find is his own inner life.
  7. Whoever would be a man, must be a nonconformist.
  8. Contemplation is the highest form of human activity.
  9. The individualist is the man who is most likely to discover the best road to a new future.
  10. A man can learn better by striking out boldly on his own than he can by following the advice of others.


Bales, R. F., & Couch, A. S. (1969). The Value Profile: A factor analytic study of value statements. Sociological Inquiry, 39, 3-17

Subsequent Research:

The Value Profile has been employed in recent investigations in the psychology of religion. With reli­ gious subjects, some of the subscales have covaried directly, and Equalitarianism has included factors that produce contrasting patterns of correlations. These observations suggest that the Value Profile failed in its goal to measure four fully independent value domains and that Bales and Crouch were justified in being concerned about the insufficient diversity of their sample. Still, the Value Profile has helped clarify the value commitments of religious individ­uals and should continue to do so in the future.

Watson, P. J., Morris, R. J., Hood, R. W., Jr. (1989). Sin and self-functioning, Part 5: Antireli­gious humanistic values, individualism, and the community. Journal of Psychology and Theology, /7, 157-172.

Watson, P. J., Folbrecht, J., Morris, R. J., & Morris, R. W., Jr. (1990). Values, “irrationality,” and religiosity. Journal of Psychology and Theol­ ogy, /8, 348-362.


Ray, J. J. (1976). Do authoritarians hold author­itarian attitudes? Human Relations, 29, 307-325.

Robinson, J. P., & Shaver, P. R. (1973). Mea­ sures of Social Psychological Attitudes ( Revised ed). Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research.

Tyson, G., Doctor, E. A., Mentis, M. ( 1988). A psycholinguistic perspective on bilinguals’ dis­crepant questionnaire responses. Journal of Cross­ Cultural Psychology, 19, 413-426.

Watson, P. J., Morris, R. J. (1994). Communal orientation and individualism: Factors and correla­tions with values, social adjustment, and self-es­ teem. Journal of Psychology, 128, 289-297.