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The Journal of Social Psychology, 1979, 109, 309-310.


University of New South Wales, Australia


By following the procedure of Byrne and Bounds (1) (selecting reversed F items from a large pool on the basis of their empirical correlation with F originals), Ray (2) has been able to construct a balanced F scale with correlations of up to -.7 between its two halves. With 28 ponderous items, it is, however, a little long for many survey applications. Below are given some results from the best 14 items only (nos. 2, 3, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 27 and 28 of the 1972 scale).

This short scale was administered to an Australia-wide mail sample by a commercial polling organization. The demographic structure of the more than 4000 responses closely reflected that of the Australian population. From this pool, 200 responses were randomly selected for analysis. (See Ray and Wilson(3) for a fuller description of the sampling methods for this poll.)

The coefficient alpha reliability of the short scale was .80 and the correlation between its halves (before reversals) was -. 504. Its correlations with other variables (4) were as follows (rs above .138 are significant <.05).

Authoritarians were very likely to be conservative on social issues (r = .66) and somewhat likely to be conservative on economic issues (.19). They were against consumer agitation (-.17) and environmentalism (-.24) and were patriotic (.24). They were not significantly likely to be misanthropic (-.136) or unsociable (-.12) but were not experience seekers (-.48), hedonistic (-.29), impulsive (-.18), or upwardly mobile (-.23). They had a strong dose of the Protestant ethic in the sense of frugality (.43), were family-oriented (.28), fashion-conscious (.15), and tended to lie (r of .26 with the short social desirability scale). When asked to rate themselves on the two traits of conservatism and authoritarianism, they rated themselves as conservative (.22), but were not particularly likely to see themselves as authoritarian (.03).

This pattern of traits seems quite reminiscent of what might be expected of the authoritarian as originally conceived, but it might also be noted that it is equally consistent with an interpretation of the F scale as measuring solely conservatism. Like the full balanced F scale, the short form has some repetitious (5 & 12) and contradictory (12 & 21) items, but it should be noted that this is also a feature of the original F items used (cf. 22 & 25 or 18 & 27 of the 1972 scale), and the contradictories are psychological rather than exact logical opposites.


(1) Byrne, D., & Bounds, C. The reversal of F scale items. Psychological Reports 1964, 14, 216.

(2) Ray, J.J. (1972) A new balanced F scale -- And its relation to social class. Australian Psychologist 7, 155-166.

(3) Ray, J.J. & Wilson, R.S. (1976) Social conservatism in Australia. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Sociology 12(3), 255-257.

(4) The scales used may be found in the following sources: Eysenck, S. B. G., & Eysenck, H. J. On the dual nature of extraversion. British J. Social & Clinical Psychology 1963, 2, 46-55. Greenwald, H. J., & Satow, Y. A short social desirability scale. Psychological Reports 1970, 27, 131-135. Ray, J.J. (1974) Conservatism as heresy Sydney: A.N.Z. Book Co., Chap. 46, appendix IV. Ray, J.J. (1975) Measuring environmentalist attitudes. Australian & New Zealand J. Sociology 11(2), 70-71. Ray, J.J. & Wilson, R.S. (1976) Social conservatism in Australia. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Sociology 12(3), 255-257. Rosenberg, M. Misanthropy and political ideology. American Sociological Review, 1956, 21, 690- 695. Wilson, R. (1973) Are you experienced? Feedback, 8, Christmas, p. 29-31.. Zuckerman, M. Dimensions of sensation-seeking. J. Consulting & Clinical Psychology 1971, 36, 45-52. Table 2.

Department of Sociology, The University of New South Wales, P.O. Box 1, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia 2033

*Received in the Editorial Office, Provincetown, Massachusetts, on September 25, 1978. Copyright, 1979, by The Journal Press.


The items of the short form of the Ray Balanced F scale

Indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each of the following statements:

1. Homosexuality between consenting adults may be disagreeable but it should not be regarded as a crime.
2. No sane, normal, decent person would ever think of hurting a close friend or relative.
3. Many of the radical ideas of today will be the accepted practices of tomorrow.
4. People who want to imprison or whip sex criminals are themselves sick.
5. Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn.
6. Young people sometimes get rebellious ideas but as they grow up they ought to get over it and settle down.
7. It is all right for people to raise questions about even the most personal and private matters.
8. Insults to our honour are not always important enough to worry about.
9. Sex crimes such as rape and attacks on children deserve more than imprisonment; such criminals ought to be publicly whipped or worse.
10. Most honest people admit to themselves that they have sometimes hated their parents.
11. Homosexuals are hardly° better than sex criminals and ought to be severely punished.
12. Sex crimes such as rape and attacks on children are signs of mental illness and such persons belong in hospitals rather than prisons.
13. There is hardly anything lower than a person who does not feel great love, gratitude and respect for his parents.
14. What the young need most is strict discipline., rugged determination and the will to work and fight for family and country.

Item numbers 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 are scored 1 for "Strongly Agree," 2 for "Agree," 3 for Not Sure." 4 for "Disagree" and 5 for "Strongly Disagree." The remaining items are scored 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 for the same answers respectively.

Replication is one of the cornerstones of science. A new research result will normally require replication by later researchers before the truth and accuracy of the observation concerned is generally accepted. If a result is to be replicated, however, careful specification of the original research procedure is important.

In questionnaire research it has been my observation that the results are fairly robust as to questionnaire format. It is the content of the question that matters rather than how the question is presented (But see here and here). It is nonetheless obviously desirable for an attempted replication to follow the original procedure as closely as possible so I have given here samples of how I presented my questionnaires in most of the research I did. On all occasions, respondents were asked to circle a number to indicate their response.

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