An assessment of a new personality measure of authoritarianism in the South African context

Léger, Paul (1992) An assessment of a new personality measure of authoritarianism in the South African context. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The aim of the research was to assess the psychometric properties of Altemeyer's (1981) Right-Wing Authoritarianism scale (RWA scale)- developed in response to identified methodological weaknesses in personality measures of authoritarianism to date - within a South African setting. A modified version of the 24-item attitudinal scale, together with a demographic questionnaire was administered to a white and black sample of South African university students. Subsequent psychometric analysis of the data indicated that the scale was a significantly less powerful measure of authoritarianism in a cross-cultural context, than originally hoped for. Not only did the analysis show an absence of psychometric equivalence but revealed substantial problems within the content of the scale itself. An ensuing discussion of these findings situated the debate within a broader theoretical context. It was argued that the RWA scale, and its underpinning conceptualization, although possibly comprising a methodological refinement over existing measures of authoritarianism, did not constitute grounds for a viable approach to research on authoritarianism in the South African context. It was concluded that a model of authoritarianism resting on the assumptions of positivistic psychology, inevitably failed to account for the social and political dynamics of a changing society. As a socially relevant enterprise, it was suggested that the debate on authoritarianism be extended beyond the confines of individualistic psychology and research priority directed instead to the crucial role of societal factors giving rise to the individual manifestation of the phenomenon.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Psychometric properties, Altemeyer, Right-wing authoritarianism scale, Authoritarianism, South Africa, Personality, Whites, Blacks, Students, Societal factors
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Psychology
Supervisors:Edwards, D.E.
ID Code:4207
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:10 Dec 2012 11:58
Last Modified:10 Dec 2012 11:58
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