The structure of attitudes to a single object: Adapting Criterial Referents Theory to measure attitudes to ‘woman’

Mandy Smith, Iain Walker

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Kerlinger's (1984) Criterial Referents Theory (CRT) is a theory of the structure of political attitudes to many objects. We modify and develop the theory to provide an account of the structure of attitudes to a single object—the social category ‘woman’. A three‐level hierarchical structure was proposed, spanning from principles (similar to Kerlinger's ‘ideologies’) through identities to behavioural referents. An 80‐item scale was used to examine this hypothesized structure. Factor analysis of data from 239 subjects revealed a second‐order factor structure which confirmed our structural hypotheses. Subscales constructed from the scale were related to scores on the Women in Society Questionnaire and to scores from a sentence‐completion task. The results clearly indicate that existing ‘attitudes to women’ scales, which assume a bipolar unidimensional structure, are inadequate, and that CRT is capable of accommodating structures of attitudes to single objects. 1992 The British Psychological Society

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-214
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

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