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Chapter 52 from: J.J. Ray (Ed.) "Conservatism as Heresy". Sydney: A.N.Z. Book Co., 1974

(With four post-publication addenda following the original article)

WHO ARE THE ALIENATED?



John Ray

A collection of all the items that could be found in the literature which were claimed to measure alienation or anomie was made. These were ordered under six conceptual headings (normlessness, powerlessness, cynicism, isolation, meaninglessness and dissatisfaction) and were shown to form reliable scales, all of which intercorrelated significantly. Treated as a single scale, the total 168 items showed a reliability of .93 on a general population sample. By selecting items which correlated most highly with the total scale, a 'core' of twenty items was chosen to form a scale with the definitive construct validity of the 168 items but short enough to be conveniently administered. This 'GA' scale showed a reliability of .86 and was completely balanced against acquiescent set. Using the new scale, alienation was found to correlate significantly with politically radical ideology and preference for radical political parties. It was found not to correlate with F scale authoritarianism but significantly negatively with attitude to authority. It was also found to be strongly related to job-dissatisfaction but was not related to social class.


ONE OF THE recurrent themes in much radical literature is that of alienation. We are told that alienation is the characteristic state of practically everybody -- from the 'workers' to 'housewives'. This supposed malaise is the foundation for much radical critique of modern society. If so many people are alienated, society obviously needs big changes if it is to be at all humanly satisfactory.

In the present paper, what will be attempted is an empirical examination of just what alienation is and who suffers from it. As will be seen, the need for a new study in this area is taken to spring from the poor standard of methodological rigour in previous work. The present study is then an attempt to approach more closely to the goal of definitiveness than has previously been done.

The first step, of course is to examine the measuring instruments that have heretofore been used in the field. Can we measure alienation adequately? Unless we can answer this question with some assurance, any attempt to study the distribution (if you like, the epidemiology ) of alienation will be foredoomed. As will be seen, the present study does seem to require as its first step some improvement on existing alienation scales.

'What? Another alienation scale?', one might say at this point. As the incomplete bibliography of this paper will graphically show, there have already been published far more scales claiming to measure alienation, anomie or related variables than would seem necessary. The present author already has two to his partial credit (Ray & Sutton, 1972). This situation is most unlike some other fields of social-psychological enquiry where one instrument is accepted as the measure of the construct concerned -- With authoritarianism, for instance, the California F scale has reigned supreme (Adorno et al, 1950) either in its original form or in versions altered only to take account of the acquiescent response set problem (e.g. Berkowitz & Wolkon, 1964; Lee & Warr, 1969; Ray 1972g ). Given the different emphases favoured by different authors in defining the construct, it seems that there is no real hope that such unanimity will reign with respect to the favoured measure of alienation. If greater unanimity could be attained, however, there would be very clear benefits in the more frequent comparability of one set of research findings with another. The scale presented in this paper, then, is one specifically designed to have wide appeal as an authoritative measure of the construct. To the extent to which it is accepted it may help to reduce the confusion in this field. In their study, Bonjean, Hill & McLemore (1965) found no less than twenty-four scales and indices used in just one five year period to measure alienation or anomie.

At this point to give a preliminary conceptual definition of the construct does not necessarily seem appropriate. As will be seen, the entire work following constitutes an 'empirical' definition of it. Suffice it to say that we are here concerned with what might be called the political scientist's favourite construct. The concept of the 'alienated workers' dates back to Karl Marx (Marcuse, 1941) and the related term 'anomie' was extensively used by Durkheim (1951). Its potential relevance as a differentiator of class attitudes is therefore quite clear. The hypothesis is that because of their relative powerlessness and relative lack of rewards the workers are more alienated from society than the upper classes. See Dean (1961), Josephson (1962) and Merton (1946) for modern discussions of this view.

A question that is a logical preliminary in any new study of this construct is whether the many variants and proposed scales of alienation do in fact empirically hang together. Is there in fact such a thing as alienation or is it simply a general rubric for a number of empirically unrelated variables?

Studies along lines such as this have been done before -- notably those by Dean (1961) and Olsen (1969). Study 'I' below extends this work. It goes beyond Dean (1961) in that it considers a more extensive range of constructs (six versus three) and it also goes beyond that of Olsen (1969) in considering many more items (168 versus eight).

STUDY I

An extensive search was made of the published literature for scales and items said to measure alienation or anomie. A total of 168 were collected. Unfortunately the collection was not nearly balanced. There turned out to be a great preponderance of positive items. Where possible, therefore, the wording of an item was changed so as to reverse its meaning.

The collected items were then carefully divided up under the six construct headings given by Olsen (1969) and the six item pools were thenceforth treated as six sub-scales. The entire item pool, ungrouped, was then given as a questionnaire to ninety-eight second year students in a social psychology course at Macquarie University. The major works referred to -- both as sources of items and for clarification of the sub-categories were: Srole (1956), Seeman (1959), Dean (1961), Rosenberg (1956), Fromm (1955), Simmons (1966), Nettler (1957), C. Wright Mills (1951), Merton (1957), Clark (1959), Neal & Rettig (1967), Struening & Richardson (1965), McDiII (1961), Meier & Bell (1959), Olsen (1965); Mizruchi (1960), Kornhauser (1959), Bell (1957), Roberts & Rokeach (1956) and McClosky & Schaar (1965).

The intercorrelation matrix as actually observed of the six subscales is given in Table 1. The reliabilities for the unmodified subscales were: Normlessness .62; Powerlessness .74; Meaninglessness .66; Isolation .73; Dissatisfaction .84; Disillusionment .79.

TABLE 1

Intercorrelations among six categories of alienation: 1 = Normlessness or Guidelessness, 2 = Powerlessness, 3 = Meaninglessness, 4 = Dissimilarity or Isolation, 5 = Dissatisfaction, 6 = Disillusionment or Cynicism. All correlations are significant.

............1..........2...........3........4..............5...........6

1......1.000...0.373....0.417....0.396.....0.445.....0.619
2.................1.000....0.597....0.365.....0.228......0.474
3..............................1.000....0.470.....0.385......0.478
4...........................................1.000.....0.510......0.611
5.........................................................1.000......0.575
6........................................................................1.000

Since all correlations between all subscales were significant, we have most unambiguous proof that all six scales belong together. If any further evidence for the unidimensionality of the alienation items were needed, it is provided by the alpha for the entire battery treated as one scale. This was .92. It does not seem immediately obvious on empirical grounds that a sense of powerlessness and normlessness should go together. One can easily imagine a very powerful but normless person -- a sort of amoral giant but empirically it does seem that there is in fact an interdependence between all of the six constructs which can be expressed as one category of alienation. The intercorrelations are of course low enough still to leave quite open the possibility of such amoral giants. In fact it cannot be asserted too strongly that a high correlation between the subscales does not indicate identity of the constructs. It is therefore of very great importance that an alienation scale should -- to be truly adequate -- reflect the influence of each of the sub-categories treated here. It does not appear that such a scale of 'general alienation' exists at the moment. For such a scale to be most widely useful it would also have to be completed balanced against acquiescent set (Carr, 1971) and standardised for a general population sample.

STUDY II

In this study an attempt is made to provide the scale, called for in the last paragraph above -- a balanced scale to reflect what is general in all the several sub-categories of alienation. The existence of the 168 item scale puts us in an excellent and perhaps unique position to carry this out. Obviously it itself could be used as such a scale once it was shown to be as reliable on a general population sample as it was on the student sample. Reasons against this however are its length and its considerable preponderance of positive items. Nonetheless, reflecting as it does the summed thought and conceptual effort of so many previous alienation scale writers, scores on it provide an excellent criterion for correlation with a new scale.

The 168 item scale was administered to a mixed sample of 138 persons. This sample was a mixed one used solely for the purpose of scale-construction -- where heterogeneity rather than representativeness is important. It was composed of two groups, (1) thirty-eight school teachers at a Macquarie University vacation school; (2) one hundred process workers from a local factory.

The one hundred process workers were all employed in three factories of Plessey Pacific Pty Ltd. The great majority were female and all were engaged in stages of the manufacture of telecommunications equipment. In the first group -- of thirty-eight school teachers -- thirty-six were males. This group consisted of those present at a vacation school for first year external students at Macquarie University. As external students, almost all these were of mature years and as teachers they tend originally to come from rather lower socio-economic status homes than most university students. Nonetheless there is considerable contrast between the two samples and it was hoped that this contrast would give some representation to the real contrast between respondents that exists in the community at large. It must be stressed again however that there is no claim for representativeness. For the purpose of constructing scales representativeness is not essential as long as a reasonable degree of heterogeneity is maintained.

Results

A single scale was made up to comprise all of the 168 items collected. It showed an initial reliability of .93. It was reduced by the ITRO item-analysis procedure (see Ray, 1972b) to a twenty item balanced scale with a reliability of .86. In this procedure each item is correlated with the total scale score and a small group of the most weakly correlating items deleted. A new total score is then calculated for the reduced scale and all remaining items correlated with the new total. Then the next weakest group of items is deleted and the whole process repeated until some criterion is satisfied. Normally, this criterion is the maximisation of the 'alpha' (Cronbach, 1951) reliability statistic. In the present case the criterion was a partly subjective one -- to obtain a scale short enough to be widely usable without sacrificing too much reliability. It will be evident that the general effect of this procedure is to select that core of items which most nearly measures what the total scale as a whole measures. It is an empirical method of 'zeroing in' on what is basic to the total item set-of finding the 'quintessence' of that item set. A variation on the usual ITRO procedure was that it was required that no negative items be dropped until the proportion of positive to negative items was equal -- and after that point positive and negative items could only be dropped in pairs. Without this precaution, program ITRO would have dropped all the negative items in its progress to the twenty item length. The result of the extra stipulation was that the ten negative items finally chosen had a lower mean correlation with the final total score than did the ten positive items. The final scale is given in the Appendix. The correlation between positive and negative halves of the scale was --.758. As mentioned above, it was assured by the analytical procedure that the twenty items finally chosen best represented what was general to the original 168 item pool. Since this pool represented the summed thought and conceptual effort of so many previous writers, it can reasonably be said that the new scale is of pre-eminent construct validity. In the following sections, the question of predictive validity will be taken up.

STUDY III

Two of the major foci of interest with alienation are its relation to the political process and its relation to work and the workplace in a modern industrial society. In Study III it is the first of these that we will primarily be examining. In Study IV we will move on to the latter.

The obvious hypothesis in the political field is that alienation will be one source of political radicalism. After all, if people are dissatisfied with some situation it is reasonable to expect that they might want to change it. They may resent feeling powerless and endeavour to attain power -- by revolutionary means if necessary. A correlation with politically radical attitudes and voting for radical political parties would then represent validation for the new scale of primary importance.

Against this however, there is considerable temptation to associate the concept of alienation with the concept of authoritarianism. Although findings on the correlation between alienation and authoritarianism vary, there is a certain reasonableness in thinking that persons who assent to: 'Most people don't realise how much our lives are controlled by plots hatched in secret places' (F scale) should also assent to: 'It is difficult for people like myself to have much influence in public affairs' (GA scale). But, authoritarianism has always been associated with political conservatism, whereas alienation is generally associated with political radicalism. There are reasons therefore to support two opposing hypotheses: (1) That the GA scale will correlate negatively with authoritarianism (because of the opposing ideological associations); and (2) that it will correlate positively with authoritarianism (because of a shared 'jaundiced' view of the world). Obviously, it is only empirical evidence which can enable us to decide which is true.

The GA scale is one particularly suitable for sorting this question out not only because of its great construct validity but also because it is balanced against acquiescence. All the correlates of the California F scale have in the past fallen under suspicion because of possible acquiescence contamination (Brown, 1965) and the correlation with alienation is surely no exception. Given that a successful balanced F scale is also now available (Ray, 1972g) we are, for probably the first time, in a position to examine the correlation of the two attributes with acquiescence artifact completely controlled. It is at least possible that the previous correlations such as that of +.45 between the 'A' and 'F' scales reported by Srole (1956) will be found to be entirely explained by a shared acquiescence artifact (Carr, 1971).

The use of a balanced scale here also provides the opportunity to make an artifact-free investigation of the classical Marxian prediction. The workers may or may not have been more alienated in Marx's day. We cannot know for certain. What we can find out here however is whether they are characteristically more alienated today. The results of this enquiry will also provide a lead-in to Study IV.

Method

A questionnaire was made up to include measures of all the constructs treated previously. Conservatism was represented by the four content-area scales given in Ray (1971) rather than by a 'general' measure. The full range of data available may be summarised as: Age, Sex, Occupation, Subjective class, Education, Father's Education, Political Party Preference, Political Conservatism, Social Conservatism, Economic Conservatism, Moral Conservatism, Attitude to Authority, Authoritarianism (BF) and Alienation. It will be noted that two separate scales were used to ensure adequate coverage in the measurement of authoritarianism. In addition to the balanced F (BF) scale there was the 'attitude to authority' (Ray, 1971c ) scale.

The sample used in this study was the same as that used for Study II, Chapter 43, part two of this book.

Results

Correlations observed between the balanced Alienation scale and other variables were: Age -.234, sex .075, Occupation -.132, Subjective class -.086, Education -.055, political preference -.266, Political conservatism -.265, Social conservatism -.071, Economic conservatism -.285, Moral conservatism -.154, AA scale -.434, BF scale -.020.

We must conclude that if alienation was related to social class in Marx's day it certainly is not now. There was no significant correlation with occupation, education or subjective class. It is, however, related to political radicalism -- which is of course the expected finding. The division into two classes of the non-manual workers produced no significant differences in alienation. Mean scores (and SDs ) for the two groups were: Professionals -- 56.48 (9.90), Business-people -- 56.80 (9.95). What is of great interest here however is the difference in the correlations with the AA and BF scales. Alienation is highly related to AA scale scores (negatively) but not at all to BF scale scores. Thus we have yet another instance where reliance on the F scale for our measure of authoritarianism would be misleading. As was perhaps foreshadowed earlier, the obvious explanation for this is that alienation and authoritarianism are in fact thoroughly opposed sentiments but the Alienation items and the BF scale items share a common inbuilt paranoid component which works to make scores on the two positively related. The outcome of the two opposing tendencies of real opposition of implications and common paranoid wording component is an overall orthogonality.

We may conclude then that alienation is a type of pathological radicalism not peculiar to any social class. For justification of the 'pathological' adjective see Ray & Sutton (1972). In that article a correlation between the Eysenck neuroticism scale and an earlier version of the present alienation scale of .40 was shown.

Previous findings of a positive relationship between alienation and authoritarianism (Srole, 1956) must then indeed have been due to a common acquiescence component. The present study is the first to use balanced scales in the measurement of both variables. It should be clear that approving of the authority institutions and practices of one's community is analytically opposed to being alienated from one's community and disapproving of its institutions and practices. That this is empirically so the present negative correlation between the AA and balanced Alienation scales attests.

The central point of this study however is that the significant correlations with politically radical attitudes and preference for radical political parties has demonstrated predictive validity for the GA scale.

STUDY IV*

Even if the Marxian view of alienation as the state of the industrial worker is untrue for our times, there does remain a lively possibility that where alienation does exist, it is a prime source of labour discontent. The preceding data do allow of the interpretation that alienation may have simply become universal in recent years. The industrial worker is no longer alone in being alienated. Given that automation and computers tend to increase the diversity and responsibility of tasks both in the factory and in the office, this does seem on the face of it an unlikely trend --particularly when we note the steady and undisputable shortening of the working week over the last century. Because we cannot go back in time and give our scale to the workers of Marx's day, there is no certain answer to this question but we can at least examine the function of alienation (whatever its levels) using present day data. How much of labour discontent today does it account for? To help provide at least a preliminary answer to this question the present study was carried out. In this study the new scale was administered as part of a class project by second-year undergraduate students to a group of 122 clerical, administrative and manual workers at the University of New South Wales. No guarantees of representativeness can of course be made for this sample but an effort was made to achieve as much heterogeneity as possible. As we are concerned with the possibilities of a relationship rather than with the absolute levels of a variable this may not be a great limitation for an exploratory study.

As well as the GA scale, a set of ten single items were included in the questionnaire to get at various aspects of job-satisfaction. These items and their correlation with the GA scale are given in Table 2. It will be seen that nine of these items are in fact significantly related to alienation (p <.05-single tailed -- where r >.155) and that several items are in fact, by the usual standards of relationship found in work such as this, quite high, e.g. items 4, 5, 7, 10. Alienation from society and alienation from the job do go together.

These results are of course yet more clear validation for the scale and they do support the idea of alienation as a set of attitudes having at least part of their source in a pervasive personal neuroticism (See also Ray & Sutton, 1972). No interpretation of the present data, however, can be made to suggest that alienation is the sole or even the major source of labour discontent. Even a correlation of .35 explains only fourteen and a half per cent of the variance. Factors such as pay, the task itself and attitudes of the boss and workmates must still bear a large burden of the explanation.

TABLE 2

Correlations of GA scale and job-satisfaction items

..................Item..............................................................................Correlation

1. The only rewards a person can get from my job are financial. .189
2. Does your job allow you to use your own initiative? -.262
3. Do you feel your fellow workers appreciate your value at work? -.245
4. Is your job repetitive? .382
5. Is your job boring? .352
6. Do you enjoy being in the company of your fellow workers? -.150
7. Do you daydream at work? .322
8. How often are your fellow-workers willing to give you whatever advice or assistance they are able to give, to help with your job, if you ask for it? -.267
9. In cases of disagreements about work with your superior, how often can you get your own way? -.188
10. How often do you feel like a small cog in a large machine, here at work? .365

CONCLUSION

A quintessential measure of what previous writers have seen fit to call alienation or anomie has been produced and shown to have predictive validity in both the political and labour relations fields. This work has also served to demonstrate that there is indeed such a thing as alienation underlying the many constructs associated with the term and that it is -- contrary to previous findings -- opposed to authoritarianism and not class-polarised. One must thus conclude that although many radical intellectuals themselves may be forever doomed to alienation, their attempt to 'project' their own feelings on to broad sections of the rest of society just will not stand up.

If one set one's standards low enough (or high enough, depending on one's point of view) there must always be a sense in which one can say that everyone is alienated. The only meaningful question that one can examine, therefore, is whether people are more alienated at one time than another or more alienated if they are members of one group than if they are members of another group. We cannot examine easily the historical ('diachronic') question; but to the 'synchronic' question we have some grounds for saying that differences do exist. But the Marxian view that modern industrial society produces alienation among the 'broad toiling masses' of the working class is not supported.

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* I am indebted to Mr. J. Rawson for making available the data on which this study was based.

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Full citation details for all references used above are available here

APPENDIX

The items of the General Alienation (GA) scale. Alpha = .86. Reversed items are marked 'R'.

1 Beneath the polite and smiling surface of man's nature is a bottomless pit of evil.
2 These days a person doesn't really know whom he can count on.
3 Human nature is fundamentally co-operative. R
4 Most people can be trusted. R
5 We are the hollow men; we are the stuffed men; leaning together -- headpiece filled with straw.
6 I can normally do what I want to do in today's set-up. R
7 The decisions of our courts of justice are as fair to a poor man as to a
wealthy man. R
8 Considering everything that is going on these days, things look bright
for the younger generation. R
9 Delinquency is not as serious a problem as the papers play it up to be. R
10 For the most part, the government serves the interests of a few organised groups, such as business or labour, and isn't very concerned about the needs of people like myself.
11 In spite of what some people say, the lot of the average man is getting worse.
12 Most public officials are not really interested in the problems of the average man.
13 People like me don't have any say about what the government does.
14 It is difficult for people like myself to have much influence in public affairs.
15 Life today is a difficult and dangerous business and it's a matter of chance who gets on top.
16 No one is going to care much what happens to you, when you get right down to it.
17 Most members of parliament and city councillors are sympathetic people and do a good job. R
18 In this society, most people can find contentment. R
19 Our community is an easy and pleasant place to live in. R
20 We seem to live in a pretty rational and well ordered world. R

POST-PUBLICATION ADDENDA

1). In my "Conclusion" section above I summarized one of my findings as showing that alienation was "opposed to authoritarianism". That is correct in academic language but the meaning of the finding in plainer language was that alienated people tended to be anti-authority. And the correlation concerned (-.434) was relatively high -- as one would expect.

2). The response options for each item of the GA scale were: Strongly Agree, Agree, Not Sure, Disagree, Strongly Agree. For items marked 'R', these responses were scored 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively. For items not so marked, the same responses were scored 5, 4, 3. 2 and 1 respectively. The scale score is the sum of the item scores.

3). The original items of the alienation battery classified into six hypothetical dimensions.

1. Guidelessness or Normlessness

"Pro" items

1. Some political corruption is a necessary evil of government.
2. Having "pull" is more important than ability in getting a government job.
3. In order to get elected to government, a candidate must make promises he does not intend to keep.
4. In getting a job promotion, some degree of "apple polishing" is required.
5. Those elected to the government have to serve special interests (e.g. big business or trade unions) as well as the public's interest.
6. In order to have a good income, a salesman must use high-pressure salesmanship.
7. The end often justifies the means.
8. Those running our government have to hush up many things
that go on behind the scenes, if they wish to stay in office.
9. Things are changing so fast these days that one doesn't know what to expect from day to day.
10. Of the many ways that people could live their lives one is just about as good as another.
11. There are so many ideas about what is right and wrong these days that it is hard to figure out how to live your own life.
12. People were better off in the old days when everyone knew just how he was expected to act.
13. I often feel that many things our parents stood for are just going to ruin before our very eyes.
14. Everything changes so quickly these days that I often have trouble deciding which are the right rules to follow.
15. It seems to me that other people find it earlier to decide what is right than I do.
16. The trouble with the world today is that most people really don't believe in anything.
17. With everything in such a state of disorder, it's hard for a person to know where he stands from one day to the next.


"Anti" items

1. A man should obey the laws, no matter how much they interfere with his personal ambitions.
2. It has to a large extent been proved that the honest life is the best life.
3. The individual these days has a good chance of finding a sensible moral standard to live by.
4. The religious organizations in our country have a lot of influence in making our society a better place to live.
5. A person must be of high moral character if he wishes to be successful in politics.
6. In getting a good paying job, its unwise to exaggerate one`s abilities (or personal merits).
7. Success in business and politics can easily be achieved without taking advantage of gullible people.

2. Powerlessness

"Pro" items

1. We are just so many cogs in the machinery of life.
2. Man on his own is a helpless and miserable creature.
3. I sometimes feel my life is being pushed in directions where I don't want to go.
4. It is only natural for a person to be rather fearful of the future.
5. I often feel I am only a cog in a big machine.
6. In my work, I feel exploited by other people.
7. One can't hope to become the sort of person one would like to.
8. Life today is a difficult and dangerous business, and it's a matter of chance who gets on top.
9. A few people at the top control most political parties.
10. It is difficult for people like myself to have much influence in public affairs.
11. People like me don't have any say about what the government does.
12. There is no way other than voting that people like me can influence actions of the government.
13. Nowadays a person has to live pretty much for today and let tomorrow take care of itself.
14. There is little or nothing I can do to prevent another world war.
15. There's little use in me voting, since one vote doesn't count very much anyway.
16. Persons like myself have little chance of protecting our personal interests when they conflict with those of strong pressure groups.
17. More and more, I feel helpless in the face of what's happening in the world today.
18. Whether one likes it or not, chance plays an awfully large part in world events.
19. It is only wishful thinking to believe that one can really influence what happens in society at large.
20. There's very little that persons like myself can do to improve the world opinion of Australia.
21. This world is run by the few people in power, and there is not much the little man can do about it.
22. There's very little we can do to keep prices from going higher.
21. With everything so uncertain these days it almost seems as though anything could happen.


"Anti" items

1. With enough effort, we can wipe out political corruption.
2. I think I could just as easily live in other societies - past or present - as in this one.
3. One man and the right idea can change the world.
4. I think each of us can do a great deal to improve world opinion of Australia.
5. I think we have adequate means for preventing runaway price rises.
6. In our society, if you work hard you can usually get ahead.
7. I can normally do what I want to do in to-day's set-up.
8. It is quite possible to plan one's life ahead with confidence.
9. Those who do not vote are largely responsible for bad government.
10. I sometimes feel personally to blame for the sad state of affairs in our government.
11. Active discussion of politics can eventually lead to a better world.
12. By studying the world situation, one can greatly increase his political effectiveness.
13. The average citizen can have an influence on government decisions.
14. One can always find friends if he shows himself friendly.
15. People like me can change the course of world events if we make ourselves heard.

3. Meaninglessness

"Pro" items

1. I often wonder why we have cyclones and other disasters.
2. I often think it is impossible to know what will happen next in the world about us.
3. It is hard to know how to interpret what people say to you nowadays.
4. It's a source of amazement to me that our society can function at all when you think of how complex it all is.
5. We are the hollow men; We are the stuffed men, leaning together - headpiece filled with straw.
6. Life, as most men live it, is meaningless.
7. Many people are unhappy because they do not know what they want out of life.
8. There are many people who don't know what to do with their lives.
9. I often wonder what the meaning of life really is.
10. Sometimes politics and government seem so complicated that I can't really understand what's going on.
11. Life seems to be rather meaningless.
12. The international situation is so complex that it just confuses a person to think about it.

"Anti" items

1. It's quite clear why some people must always be poor while others are rich.
2. People generally seem to know what the outcome of their actions will be.
3. We seem to live in a pretty rational and well ordered world.
4. Human life is an expression of divine purpose.
5. On the whole, life makes good sense to me.
6. Life has a clear purpose.
7. We all have a chance to play a part and do our duty in some great design the end of which no mortal eye can foresee.

4. Dissimilarity or Isolation

"Pro" items

1. What is lacking in the world today is the old kind of friendship that lasted for a lifetime.
2. There is a great lack of understanding between the older and younger generation.
3. There are several people I regard as my enemies.
4. National sports such as football and cricket do not interest me.
5. Other than outright enemies, I feel I have several acquaintances who would be pleased, secretly or openly, at any misfortune that might befall me.
6. Many people in our society are lonely and unrelated to their fellow human beings.
7. No one is going to care much what happens to you, when you get right down to it.
8. It is almost impossible for one person to really understand the feelings of another.
9. Fundamentally, the world we live in is a pretty lonesome place.
10. I'd like it if I could find someone who would tell me how to solve my personal problems.
11. Unfortunately, a good many people with whom I have discussed important social and moral problems don't really understand what's going on.
12. I often feel awkward and out of place,
13. Sometimes I feel all alone in the world
14. Most people lead lives of quiet desperation.
15. The younger generation is very little understood by their elders.
16. I try to avoid being alone.
17. I join social groups.
18. I try to participate in group activities


"Anti" items


1. It is easy to get along with people.
2. I like the latest model Holden.
3. I like to participate in church activities.
4. I seldom feel lonely.
5. People usually accept and welcome you just as you really are.
6. I really feel at home with the people I mix with
7. You can usually be sure who you can count on.
8. Most people are willing to help someone in need
9. When people are doing things together I tend to join them.
10. I try to include other people in my plans.
11. I try to have people around me
12. I tend to join social organizations when I have an opportunity.
13. I vote in national elections.
14. I enjoy T.V.
15. I read the Readers Digest.
16. I am interested in the outcome of Federal elections.
17. In spite of the fast pace of modern living it is easy to have many close friends that you can really count on.

5. Dissatisfaction

"Pro" items

1. Most public officials are not really interested in the problems of the average man.
2. In spite of what some people say, the lot of the average man is getting worse.
3. Educated people should have more influence on this country's affairs than they do.
4. There are too many repressive forces in Australian society.
5. With the present generation of leaders the future of Australia is not very bright.
6. Politicians have far too little regard for the views of the people who elect them.
7. The Australian culture is conformist and restricting.
8. With life in Australia as it is today it is surprising that protests and demonstrations are not more widespread.
9. As the government is now organized and operated, I think it is hopelessly incapable of dealing with all the crucial problems facing the country today,
10. It seems to me that the government often fails to take necessary actions on important matters, even when most people favour such actions.
11. For the most part, the government serves the interests of a few organized groups, such as business or labour, and isn't very concerned about the needs of people like myself.
12. These days the government is trying to do too many things, including some activities that I don't think it has a right to do.
13. There's little use in writing to public officials because often they aren't really interested in the problems of the average man.
14. Australia needs firm, strong government.
15. Most politicians and city councillors are only in politics for what they can get out of it, and are not much good

"Anti" items

1. Our community is an easy and pleasant place to live in,
2. In this society, most people can find contentment.
3. Most members of parliament and city councillors are sympathetic people and do a good job.
4. It's easy to find a job worth doing.
5. People usually appreciate it when you do good work.
6. Mostly, people are fair in their dealings with me.
7. Many progressive social ideas have been introduced in Australia in recent years.
8. Delinquency is not as serious a problem as the papers play it up to be.
9. Considering everything that is going on these days, things look bright for the younger generation.
10. On the whole, our economic system is just and wise.
11. The decisions of our courts of justice are as fair to a poor man as to a wealthy man.

6. Disillusionment or cynicism

"Pro" items

1. I believe public officials don't care much what people like me think.
2. The general public is not qualified to vote on today's complex issues.
3. In getting ahead in life, it is not what you know that counts, it's who you know.
4. Most people just don't give a "damn" for others.
5. It's hardly fair to bring children into the world the way things look for the future,
6. Religion is mostly myth.
7. For myself, (or assuming I could have my life again), I think a single life would be more satisfactory.
8. People will do almost anything if the reward is high enough.
9. It is usually best to tell your supervisors or bosses what they really want to hear.
10. For a strike to be effective, picket line violence is necessary.
11. These days a person doesn't really know whom he can count on.
12. Most people don't really care what happens to the next fellow.
13. I think children are generally a nuisance to their parents.
14. I am not interested in having children (or: I would not be even if of the right age)
15. Most married people lead trapped and frustrated lives.
16. Few people really look forward to their work.
17. It is all right for a person to break the law if he doesn't get caught.
18. So many people do things well that it is easy to become discouraged,
19. A man who never gets angry at anything or anyone is not likely to be treated with respect.
20. Beneath the polite and smiling surface of man's nature is a bottomless pit of evil.
21. There are times when it is absolutely necessary to use other people as tools in the accomplishment of a purpose.
22. The real substance of life consists of a process of disillusionments, with but few goals that are worth the effort spent in reaching them.

"Anti" items

1. The great majority of citizens in a democracy are sufficiently rational and informed to make sound political decisions.
2. Most people who complain of bad luck don't realize how much they are the cause of it.
3. Everyone should have someone in his life whose happiness means as much to him as his own.
4. Parents are usually willing to give up most of their personal pleasures to provide for their family.
5. The successful people in our society are usually the most honest.
6. Government officials will generally work pretty hard to help a person out as long as he lets them know what his problems are.
7. Most people can be trusted.
8. Human nature is fundamentally co-operative.
9. People will be honest with you as long as you are honest with them.
10. Every person should believe so strongly in some cause that he is willing to risk his life for it.
11. I feel that we have adequate ways of coping with political pressure groups.
12. There are days when one awakes from sleep without a care in the world, full of zest and eagerness for whatever lies ahead of him.
13. In this society, the better people mostly get to the top.
14. Most people are quite trustworthy.
15. In this society, people's respect for your character will get you a long way.
16. For most people, it is more important to make friends than to make money.

4). Other papers on alienation that may be of interest are as under:

Ray, J.J. (1982) Towards a definitive alienation scale. J. Psychology, 112, 67-70.

Ray, J.J. (1984) Alienation, dogmatism and acquiescence. J. Clinical Psychology 40, 1007-1008.

Ray, J.J. (1987) Radicalism and alienation. Journal of Social Psychology 127, 219-220.






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