Spann-Fischer Codependency Scale

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The Spann-Fischer Codependency Scale is a 16-item self-report instrument used to define and measure co-dependency in order to operationalize it as a personality disorder. Individual items are rated on a 6-point Likert scale, and then summed with two reversed items to describe co-dependency on a scale from a high of 96 to a low of 16. Scores on the codependency scale distinguished known groups; furthermore, scores correlated as expected with intrapersonal measures as well as interpersonal perceptions of parenting in the family of origin.

Its creators are Judith L. Fischer PhD and Lynda Spann MS, both from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech University.

In a series of studies, Fischer, Spann, and Crawford (1991); Fischer and Crawford (1992); and Fischer, Wampler, Lyness, and Thomas (1992) defined co-dependency as a dysfunctional pattern of relating to others with "an extreme focus outside oneself, lack of open expression of feelings, and attempts to derive a sense of purpose [exclusively] through relationships" with others. The Spann-Fischer Scale has enjoyed good test-retest reliability ( > .80), and acceptable internal consistency (.62 < < .92), across studies.

Spann-Fischer scores have been associated with membership in Codependents Anonymous, gender, self-esteem, locus of control, depression, relationship with parents, and anxiety (Fischer, Spann & Crawford, 1991); narcissism (O'Brien & Gaborit, 1992); parental co-dependency (Irwin, 1995); age (Crothers & Warren, 1996); treatment outcomes and education (Teichman & Basha, 1996); parenting style (Fischer & Crawford, 1992); powerlessness in relationships (Cowan, Bommersbach & Curtis, 1995); and risk-taking (Fischer, Wampler, Lyness & Thomas, 1992) - but not with parental chemical dependency (Crothers & Warren, 1996); the number of family addictions, the severity of dysfunction in the family-of-origin, or alcoholism (Fischer, Wampler, Lyness & Thomas, 1992); childhood trauma (Irwin, 1995); or family cohesion and adaptability (Teichman & Basha, 1996).

Rating Scale[edit]

The mean Spann-Fischer co-dependency score is approximated with a midpoint of 52.6, a "high" score of 67.2 and a "low" score of 37.3 suggested by Fischer, Spann, and Crawford (1991). No significant between-workshop differences were found for Spann-Fischer measures of co-dependency in the cases presented (F = .042, p = n.s.).[1]



  • Fischer, J., & Crawford, D. (1992). Codependency and parenting styles. Journal of Adolescent Research 7: 352-363.
  • Fischer, J., Spann, L., and Crawford, D. (1991). Measuring codependency. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 8: 87-99.
  • Fischer, J., Wampler, R., Lyness, K., and Thomas, E. (1992). Offspring codependency: Blocking the impact of the family of origin. Family Dynamics of Addiction Quarterly 2: 1-12.

External links[edit]