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Short measures

Dr. Simon Moss

This page presents a series of short measures--that is, scales with considerably fewer items than alternatives. Single item measures, however, are presented in another document (see Single item measures).

Social measures


Brown (2003& Brown & Phillips, 2005) developed a measure to assess trait forgiveness, called tendency to forgive. This scale comprises four items, such as "I tend to get over it quickly when someone hurts my feelings", and "When people wrong me, my approach is just to forgive and forget". Cronbach's alpha approaches .80.

As hypothesized, this scale also correlates highly with the capacity to overcome negative affective states, called a failure-related action orientation (Allemand, Job, Christen, & Keller, 2008).

Social anxiety

Turner, Hewstone, Voci, and Vonofakou (2008) adapted a scale that was constructed by Stephan and Stephan (1985) to gauge intergroup anxiety--the extent to which individuals experience anxiety when they interact with someone from a specific ethnic or demographic group. In particular, individuals were asked to imagine "how they would feel if they mixed socially with complete strangers who are" of some ethnicity, such as "Asian". One a five point scale, participants rate the extent to which they would feel awkward, self conscious, confident (reverse scored), defensive, and relaxed (reverse scored).

Cronbach's alpha was .86. In addition, intergroup anxiety related to attitudes towards this outgroup as well as whether or not friends socialize with this outgroup.

Team or group measures

Information sharing

Zellmer-Bruhn, Maloney, Bhappu, and Salvador (2008) constructed three items to gauge the sharing and exchange of information in teams. Specifically, they were asked to specify the extent to which they agree or disagree with three statements, such as "Members of my team are very willing to share information with each other about our projects". Cronbach's alpha was .67. Approximately 90% of teams generated a r(wg) value about .70. ICC(1) was .18, p < .01.


Five factor model

Rammstedt and John (2005) published a short measure of the five factor model. For example, four items are used to assess a single trait, such as neuroticism. A typical item is "I see myself as someone who tends to find fault with others" (reverse coded). Correlations between these scales and longer measures, as gauged by the standard Big Five Inventory is high, exceeding .90 for neuroticism for example.


Allemand, M., Job, V., Christen, S., & Keller, M. (2008). Forgiveness and action orientation. Personality and Individual Differences, 45, 762-766.

Brown, R. P. (2003). Measuring individual differences in the tendency to forgive: Construct validity and links with depression. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 759-771.

Brown, R. P., & Phillips, A. (2005). Letting bygones be bygones: Further evidence for the validity of the tendency to forgive scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 627-638.

John, O. P., Donahue, E. M., & Kentle, R. L. (1991). The "Big Five" inventory: Versions 4a and 54. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Personality and Social Research.

Knowles, E. D., Lowery, B. S., Hogan, C. M., & Chow, R. M. (2009). On the malleability of ideology: Motivated construals of color blindness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 857-869.

Rammstedt, B., & O. P. John, (2005). Kurzversion des Big Five Inventory (BFI-K): Entwicklung und Validierung eines okonomischen Inventars zur Erfassung der funf Faktoren der Personlichkeit. (Short version of the Big Five Inventory (BFI-K): Development and validation of an economic inventory for assessment of the five factors of personality), Diagnostica, 51, 195-206.

Sidanius, J., Pratto, F., & Bobo, L. (1996). Racism, conservatism, affirmative action, and intellectual sophistication: A matter of principled conservatism or group dominance? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 476-490.

Zellmer-Bruhn, M. E., Maloney, M. M., Bhappu, A. D., & Salvador, R. (2008). When and how do differences matter? An exploration of perceived similarity in teams. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 107, 41-59. doi: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2008.01.004

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Last Update: 6/16/2016