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Attitudes Towards Women Scale
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- Attitudes Towards Women Scale
About Scale Name
Attitudes Towards Women Scale
Janet Spence and Robert Helmreich
The Attitudes Towards Women Scale (AWS) is a psychological assessment tool that was developed by Janet Spence and Robert Helmreich in 1972. The scale was designed to measure attitudes toward women and gender roles, and it has since become one of the most widely used instruments in this field.
The AWS consists of a series of statements about women and gender roles, with respondents indicating their level of agreement or disagreement on a Likert-type scale. The statements cover a range of attitudes related to gender, including beliefs about gender roles, attitudes toward women’s rights and equality, and perceptions of gender stereotypes.
The original version of the AWS consisted of 40 items, but subsequent revisions have included shorter versions with as few as 25 items. The scale has been used in many research studies exploring various aspects of gender and sexism, including studies examining attitudes toward women in different cultures, attitudes toward sexual harassment and assault, and attitudes toward women in leadership positions.
The AWS has been found to be a reliable and valid measure of attitudes toward women, and it has been used in many different populations and contexts. It has also been translated into several languages for use in international research studies. Overall, the AWS continues to be an important tool for researchers studying attitudes toward women, and it has helped to advance our understanding of gender and sexism in society.
Administration, Scoring and Interpretation
The Attitudes Towards Women Scale (AWS) is typically administered as a self-report questionnaire. Participants are asked to read each statement on the scale and indicate their level of agreement or disagreement on a Likert-type scale, usually ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”
The exact administration instructions may vary depending on the specific version of the scale being used, but generally, participants are instructed to respond to each item honestly and without discussing their responses with others.
The AWS can be administered in various formats, including paper-and-pencil, online, or via interview. The choice of format may depend on the specific research study and the population being studied.
It is important to note that the AWS is a sensitive measure of attitudes toward women and may elicit strong emotional reactions from some participants. Researchers should take care to ensure that participants feel comfortable and safe when completing the scale, and they should provide appropriate debriefing and support if necessary.
Reliability and Validity
The Attitudes Towards Women Scale (AWS) has been shown to be a reliable and valid measure of attitudes toward women and gender roles. Reliability refers to the consistency of the scores obtained from using the scale, while validity refers to the extent to which the scale measures what it is intended to measure.
Several studies have assessed the reliability of the AWS, and the scale has consistently demonstrated high levels of internal consistency, with Cronbach’s alpha coefficients ranging from .80 to .96 across different populations and contexts. This suggests that the items on the scale are highly correlated, indicating that they are measuring a meaningful construct.
In terms of validity, the AWS has been found to have good content validity, meaning that the items on the scale are relevant to the construct being measured. The scale has also demonstrated good construct validity, with numerous studies showing significant relationships between AWS scores and other measures of attitudes toward women.
Furthermore, evidence supports the AWS’s criterion validity, which means it can distinguish between groups known to differ based on their attitudes towards women. For example, in research studies, men who scored higher on the AWS were more likely to endorse traditional gender roles, display hostile sexism, and engage in sexually aggressive behavior towards women.
Spence, J. T., & Helmreich, R. L. (1972). The Attitudes Toward Women Scale: An objective instrument to measure attitudes toward the rights and roles of women in contemporary society. JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 2, 66.
Spence, J.T., Helmreich, R., & Stapp, J. (1973). A short version of the Attitudes toward Women Scale (AWS). Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 2, 219-220.
Spence, J.T. & Helmreich, R.L. (1978). Masculinity and femininity: Their psychological dimensions, correlates, and antecedents. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the AWS used for?
A: The AWS is a psychological assessment tool designed to measure attitudes toward women and gender roles. It has been used in numerous research studies exploring various aspects of gender and sexism, and it is widely regarded as one of the most reliable and valid measures of attitudes toward women.
Q: Who can use the AWS?
A: Anyone who is interested in measuring attitudes toward women and gender roles can use the AWS. However, researchers should be aware that the scale may elicit strong emotional reactions from some participants, and appropriate care should be taken to ensure participant safety and comfort.
Q: How do I score the AWS?
A: The AWS consists of a series of statements about women and gender roles, with respondents indicating their level of agreement or disagreement on a Likert-type scale. To score the questionnaire, each item is assigned a numerical value based on the response scale, and these values are summed to create a total score. Higher scores indicate more traditional attitudes toward women and gender roles.
Q: How long does it take to complete the AWS?
A: The length of time it takes to complete the AWS depends on the specific version being used and the individual participant. The original version of the scale consists of 40 items, but shorter versions with as few as 25 items are also available.
Q: Is the AWS the only measure of attitudes toward women?
A: No, the AWS is just one of many measures of attitudes toward women and gender roles. Other measures include the Gender Role Attitudes Scale, the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory, and the Modern Sexism Scale, among others.
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