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Social Dominance Orientation: A Personality Variable Predicting Social and Political Attitudes

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Abstract

Social dominance orientation (SDO), one's degree of preference for inequality among social groups, is introduced. On the basis of social dominance theory, it is shown that (a) men are more social dominance-oriented than women, (b) high-SDO people seek hierarchy-enhancing professional roles and low-SDO people seek hierarchy-attenuating roles, (c) SDO was related to beliefs in a large number of social and political ideologies that support group-based hierarchy (e.g., meritocracy and racism) and to support for policies that have implications for intergroup relations (e.g., war, civil rights, and social programs), including new policies. SDO was distinguished from interpersonal dominance, conservatism, and authoritariansim. SDO was negatively correlated with empathy, tolerance, communality, and altruism. The ramifications of SDO in social context are discussed. African and African American Studies Psychology
Social Dominance Orientation: A Personality Variable Predicting
Social and Political Attitudes
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Citation Pratto, Felicia, James Sidanius, Lisa M. Stallworth, and Bertram
F. Malle. 1994. Social dominance orientation: A personality
variable predicting social and political attitudes. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology 67, no. 4: 741-763.
Published Version doi:10.1037/0022-3514.67.4.741
Accessed July 7, 2011 12:47:44 AM EDT
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Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
1994,
Vol.
67,
No.
4,
741-763Copyright
1994 by
the American Psychological Association, Inc.
0022-3514/94/S3.00
Social Dominance Orientation: A Personality Variable Predicting Social
and Political Attitudes
Felicia Pratto, Jim Sidanius, Lisa
M.
Stallworth, and Bertram
F.
Malle
Social dominance orientation
(SDO),
one's
degree
of preference for inequality among social groups,
is introduced. On the basis of social dominance theory, it is shown that (a) men are more social
dominance-oriented than women, (b) high-SDO people seek hierarchy-enhancing professional roles
and low-SDO people seek hierarchy-attenuating
roles,
(c)
SDO was
related to beliefs in a large num-
ber of social and political ideologies that support group-based hierarchy (e.g., meritocracy and rac-
ism) and to support for
policies
that
have
implications for intergroup relations
(e.g.,
war,
civil rights,
and
social
programs),
including
new
policies.
SDO was distinguished from interpersonal dominance,
conservatism, and authoritarianism. SDO was negatively correlated with empathy, tolerance, com-
munality, and altruism. The ramifications of SDO in social context are discussed.
Group conflict and group-based inequality are pervasive in
human existence. Currently, every continent is enduring some
form of ethnic conflict, from the verbal debate over multicul-
turalism in the United States and Canada to civil war in Liberia
and Bosnia. Other conflicts between groups are ancient: the Eu-
ropean persecution of
Jews,
"Holy Wars" waged by Christians
and Muslims around the Mediterranean, imperialism in South
America, and anti-Black racism in northern Africa and else-
where. Regardless of the intensity of the conflict, the partici-
pants
justify their behavior to others by appealing to historical
injustices, previous territorial boundaries, religious prohibi-
tions,
genetic and cultural theories of in-group superiority, or
other such ideologies.
Prompted by the ubiquitous nature of group-based prejudice
and oppression, we developed social dominance theory (see
Pratto, in
press;
Sidanius,
1993;
Sidanius
&
Pratto,
1993a).
The
theory postulates that societies minimize group conflict by cre-
ating consensus on ideologies that promote the superiority of
one group over others (see also Sidanius, Pratto, Martin, &
Stallworth, 1991). Ideologies that promote or maintain group
inequality are the tools that legitimize discrimination.
To
work
smoothly, these ideologies must be widely accepted within a so-
ciety, appearing as self-apparent truths; hence we call them hi-
erarchy-legitimizing
myths.' By contributing to consensual or
normalized group-based inequality, legitimizing myths help to
stabilize oppression. That is, they minimize conflict among
groups by indicating how individuals and social institutions
should allocate things of
positive
or negative social value, such
as
jobs,
gold,
blankets,
government
appointments,
prison terms,
and
disease.
For
example,
the ideology of anti-Black racism has
been instantiated in personal acts of discrimination, but also in
institutional discrimination against African-Americans by
banks,
public transit authorities, schools, churches, marriage
laws,
and the penal system. Social Darwinism and meritocracy
are examples of other ideologies that imply that some people
are not as "good" as others and therefore should be allocated
less
positive social value than others.
Thus far, we have given examples of legitimizing myths that
enhance or maintain the degree of social inequality. Other ide-
ologies may serve to attenuate the amount of inequality. For
example, the "universal rights of man" and the view summa-
rized by "all humans are God's children" are inclusive, egali-
tarian ideologies that explicitly do not divide persons into cate-
gories or groups. To the extent that such ideologies are widely
shared, there should be less group inequality. There are, then,
two varieties of legitimizing
myths:
hierarchy-enhancing legiti-
mizing
myths,
which promote greater degrees of social inequal-
ity, and hierarchy-attenuating legitimizing myths, which pro-
mote greater social equality.
Felicia
Pratto,
Lisa
M.
Stallworth, and Bertram
F.
Malle,
Department
of Psychology, Stanford University; Jim Sidanius, Department of
Psy-
chology, University of California at
Los
Angeles.
We
are grateful to a number of
people
for their diligence and creativity
in this research: Erron Al-Amin, Jill Andrassy, Sahr Conway-Lanz,
Nick
Clements,
Magda Escobar, Jack Glaser,
Louis
Ibarra,
Kent Harber,
John Hetts, Amy Lee, Johanna Jensen, John Moore, Jenn Pearson,
Holly Schaefer, Margaret Shih, Stacey Sinclair, Gayatri Taneja, Jack
Wang, and Wes Williams. Bob Altemeyer, Monisha Pasupathi, Vernon
Schabert, Michael Mitchell, Steve Gangestad, Corinne Kosmitzki, Ted
Goertzel, and three anonymous
reviewers
provided useful comments
on
a draft of
this
article.
Correspondence concerning this article should
be
addressed
to
Felicia
Pratto, Department of Psychology, Jordan Hall, Stanford University,
Stanford, California 94305-2130.
SOCIAL DOMINANCE ORIENTATION
Given our theoretical postulate that acceptance of legitimiz-
ing myths has significant influence on the degree of inequality
in societies, it is quite important to understand the factors that
lead to the acceptance or rejection of ideologies that promote or
attenuate inequality. Social dominance theory postulates that a
1 The term myth is meant to imply that everyone in the society per-
ceives these ideologies as explanations for how the world is—not that
they are false (or true). Social dominance theory is meant only to de-
scribe the
social
and psychological processes that act
on these
ideologies,
not to ascertain whether these ideologies are true, fair, moral, or
reasonable.
741
742
PRATTO, SIDANIUS, STALLWORTH, AND MALLE
significant factor is an individual-difference variable called so-
cial dominance orientation (SDO), or the extent to which one
desires that one's in-group dominate and be superior to out-
groups.
We
consider SDO to be a general attitudinal orientation
toward intergroup relations, reflecting whether one generally
prefers such relations to be equal, versus hierarchical, that is,
ordered along a superior-inferior
dimension.
The theory postu-
lates that people who are more social-dominance oriented will
tend to favor hierarchy-enhancing ideologies and policies,
whereas those lower on SDO will tend to favor hierarchy-atten-
uating ideologies and policies. SDO is thus the central individ-
ual-difference variable that predicts a person's acceptance or re-
jection of numerous ideologies and policies relevant to group
relations.
Another way that individuals' levels of SDO may influence
their contribution to social equality or inequality is in the kinds
of social roles they take on, particularly, roles that either en-
hance or attenuate inequality. We thus predict that those who
are higher on SDO will become members of institutions and
choose
roles
that maintain or increase social inequality, whereas
those who are lower on SDO will belong to institutions and
choose roles that reduce inequality.
The purpose of the present research was to demonstrate that
individual variation in SDO exists and to show that this con-
struct behaves according to the theory outlined above. Specifi-
cally, our goals were (a) to develop a measure of SDO that is
internally and temporally reliable, (b) to show that SDO is re-
lated to the attitudinal and social role variables specified by so-
cial dominance theory (predictive validity), (c) to show that the
measure is not redundant with other attitude predictors and
standard personality variables (discriminant validity), and (d)
to show that SDO serves as an orientation in shaping new
attitudes.
HYPOTHESES
The first set of hypotheses we tested was derived from social
dominance theory and concerned those variables to which SDO
should strongly relate, termed predictive
validity.
The second set
of hypotheses, termed discriminant validity, states either that
SDO should be independent of other variables or that SDO
should have predictive value in addition to the effects of these
other variables. We also hypothesized that SDO should relate
moderately to certain other personality variables, from which
SDO is conceptually distinct. The third set of hypotheses we
tested concerns SDO's power to predict new social attitudes.
Predictive Validity
Gender
The world over, men and women hold different roles with re-
gard to the maintenance of
hierarchy.
Ubiquitously, men serve
as military leaders and hold leadership roles in religious, social,
political, and cultural spheres
(e.g.,
Brown,
1991,
pp. 110, 137).
Moreover, men hold more hierarchy-enhancing attitudes, such
as support for ethnic prejudice, racism, capitalism, and right-
wing political parties, than do women (e.g., Avery, 1988; Eisler
& Loye,
1983;
Ekehammar & Sidanius, 1982; Shapiro & Ma-
hajan, 1986; Sidanius & Ekehammar, 1980; see review by Si-
danius,
Cling, & Pratto, 1991). On the basis of these general
societal patterns, we have predicted and shown that, on average,
men are more social dominance-oriented than women (see
Pratto,
Sidanius,
&
Stallworth,
1993;
Sidanius, Pratto,
&
Bobo,
in press). We tested this hypothesis with the measure of SDO
developed in the present research.
Legitimizing Myths
Ethnic Prejudice
One of the major kinds of ideology concerning relative group
status is ethnic prejudice. In the United States, the most long-
standing and widely disseminated version of ethnic prejudice is
anti-Black racism. Therefore, we predicted that SDO would be
strongly related to anti-Black racism in the present U.S. sam-
ples.
In the United States, a theoretical and empirical debate
about how best to measure anti-Black racism has been con-
ducted for some time (e.g., see Bobo, 1983; McConahay, 1986;
Sears,
1988;Sniderman&Tetlock, 1986a, 1986b). Social domi-
nance theory merely postulates that SDO should predict what-
ever ideologies are potent within the culture at the time of mea-
surement. From our theoretical viewpoint, it does not matter
whether the basis for racism is fairness (e.g., Kluegel & Smith,
1986),
genetic or biblical racial inferiority theories, symbolic
racism (e.g., Sears, 1988), or family pathology (e.g., Moynihan,
1965).
Any potent ideology that describes groups as unequal
and has policy implications is a legitimizing myth and should,
therefore, correlate with SDO. During the period the present
research was conducted, our subjects' country was engaged in a
war against Iraq, so we also measured anti-Arab racism and
expected it to correlate with SDO.
Nationalism
A more general kind of in-group prejudice that can occur in
nation-states
is
nationalism, chauvinism, or patriotism. Koster-
man and Feshbach (1989) suggested that procountry feelings
(patriotism) can be distinguished from comparative prejudice,
that
is,
that one's country
is
better than other countries (nation-
alism),
and as such should dominate other countries (chauvin-
ism).
Even so, all three reflect attitudinal bias in favor of the
national in-group, and thus we postulated that patriotism, na-
tionalism, and chauvinism would all be significantly related to
SDO.
Cultural Elitism
All societies share the idea that one of the defining features of
those who belong to their society (are part of the
in-group,
or are
considered by them to be human)
is
that they are "cultured." In
some societies, including English and American society, an
elitist ideology built on the cultured-not cultured distinction
postulates that the elite class has "culture" not shared by mid-
dle-
and working-class people and is therefore more deserving
of the "finer things in life."
We
term this legitimizing myth cul-
tural elitism, and we expected it to correlate with SDO as well.
Sexism
We
believe that antifemale sexism
is
a ubiquitous legitimizing
myth, although, as with ethnic prejudice, the content basis of
SOCIAL DOMINANCE ORIENTATION743
sexist ideology varies widely with religion, cultural history, and
technology. In the present
U.S.
samples, we used scales that as-
sess sexism as the extent to which people believe men and
women are "naturally" different and should
have
different work
roles outside and inside the home (Benson & Vincent, 1980;
Rombough
&
Ventimiglia,
1981)
and the extent
to
which people
believe that women rather than men can be blamed for un-
wanted sexual advances such as rape and sexual harassment
(Burt, 1980). We predicted that all of these would be positively
correlated with
SDO,
even controlling for subject sex.
Political-Economic Conservatism
Political-economic conservatism is associated with support
for capitalism
versus
socialism
(e.g.,
Eysenck,
1971).
Given that
capitalism implies that some people and businesses should
thrive, while those who are less "competitive" should not, we
consider political-economic conservatism to be a hierarchy-en-
hancing legitimizing myth that should positively correlate with
SDO (see also Sidanius & Pratto, 1993b). Other policies sup-
ported by conservatives, such as that women should stay home
with children and that the USSR must be kept in its place, di-
vide people into groups "deserving" different treatment, so we
feel conservatism generally can be viewed as a legitimizing
myth. In fact, Wilson's extensive work on the body of attitudes
that make up conservatism shows that a preference for hierar-
chical social relationships
is one
of conservatism's many dimen-
sions (Wilson,
1973,
p. 22).
Noblesse Oblige
A
hierarchy-attenuating ideology that
exists
in many cultures
is that those with more resources should share them with those
who have fewer resources
(e.g.,
the Marxist maxim, "From each
according
to
his
[sic]
ability, to each according
to
his need," and
the potlatch custom of the Kwakiutl). The English-American
version
is
called
noblesse
oblige,
which
we
expected to be nega-
tively correlated with SDO.
Meritocracy
Another hierarchy-enhancing ideology is that wealth and
other social values are already distributed appropriately, based
on the deservingness of the recipients. The Protestant work
ethic and just world theory are examples of meritocratic ideol-
ogies,
so we administered standard measures of belief in the
Protestant work ethic and belief in a just world and predicted
that they would be positively correlated with SDO. In the
United States, attributions for poverty due to laziness or to
some other inherent fault in the poor are predicated on the idea
that equal opportunity is available to all (Kluegel & Smith,
1986),
so we wrote an equal opportunity scale and predicted
that it would correlate positively with SDO.
Social Policy Attitudes
According to social dominance theory, individuals who are
social dominance oriented
will
favor social practices that main-
tain or exacerbate inequality among groups and will oppose so-
cial
practices that reduce group
inequality.
The particular social
policies that correlate with SDO may vary from society to soci-
ety, but we predicted that SDO would relate to support for, or
opposition to, the following policies in
U.S.
samples.
Social Welfare, Civil Rights, and Environmental Policies
We
expected SDO to correlate with opposition to social poli-
cies that would reduce inequality between U.S. nationals and
foreigners or immigrants, rich and middle class or poor, men
and women, ethnic groups, heterosexuals and homosexuals,
and humans versus other species. As such, we measured our
subjects' attitudes toward a variety of government social pro-
grams, racial and sexual discrimination laws, gay and lesbian
rights,
domination of foreigners, and environmental
policies.
In
several samples we also assessed attitudes toward "interracial
dating" and "interracial marriage," because miscegenation has
been central to the
U.S.
racial policy debate.
Military Policy
Because the military is a symbol of nationalism and can be
one of the chief means of domination of one nation over others,
we
expected
SDO
to correlate positively with expressed support
for military programs and actions.
Punitive Policies
Despite its stated creed to enact equality before the law, the
U.S.
criminal justice system shows class and ethnic bias at all
levels from arrest to plea bargaining to sentencing
(e.g.,
Bienen,
Alan, Denno, Allison, & Mills, 1988; General Accounting
Office, 1990; Kleck, 1981; Nickerson, Mayo, & Smith, 1986;
Paternoster, 1983; Radelet & Pierce, 1985; Reiman, 1990; Si-
danius, 1988). As one example, in a review of 1,804 homicide
cases in South Carolina, Paternoster (1983) found that in cases
where Blacks killed Whites, rather than other Blacks, prosecu-
tors were 40 times more likely to request the death penalty. For
this
reason,
we
expected support for "law and order"
or
punitive
policies, particularly the death penalty, to be positively related
to SDO (see also Mitchell,
1993;
Sidanius, Liu, Pratto,
&
Shaw,
1994).
Discriminant Validity
Interpersonal Dominance
SDO,
or preference for unequal relationships among catego-
ries
of people,
is
conceptually distinguishable from the common
personality conception of interpersonal dominance, which con-
cerns
the extent to which individuals
like
to
be
in charge and are
efficacious. For example, people who score high on the Califor-
nia Personality Inventory (CPI) Dominance scale are confident,
assertive, dominant, and task oriented, whereas people who
score low are unassuming and nonforceful (Gough,
1987,
p.
6).
People who score high on the Jackson Personality Research
Form (JPRF) Dominance scale attempt to control their envi-
ronments and influence
or
direct other
people;
they are forceful,
decisive, authoritative, and domineering (Jackson, 1965). We
tested this theoretical distinction between social and task or in-
terpersonal dominance by using the CPI and JPRF Dominance
subscales in several samples reported here. We predicted that
SDO would not correlate with these two measures.
744PRATTO, SIDANIUS, STALLWORTH, AND MALLE
Authoritarianism
There is clearly some theoretical similarity in the effects of
social dominance theory's SDO construct and authoritarian
personality theory's authoritarian construct (see Adorno, Fren-
kel-Brunswik, Levinson, & Sanford, 1950). High-SDO people
and authoritarian personalities are theorized to be relatively
conservative, racist, ethnocentric, and prejudiced, and they
should show little empathy for lower status
others.
Our concep-
tion of
SDO,
however, differs from classical authoritarianism in
several respects. First, classical authoritarian theorists viewed
authoritarianism
as
an aberrant and pathological condition and
as
a form of ego-defense against feelings of inadequacy and vul-
nerability (see also Frenkel-Brunswik, 1948, 1949). SDO, how-
ever,
is
not conceived of in clinical terms,
as
an aberrant person-
ality
type,
or
as a
form of ego-defense. Rather, SDO
is
conceived
of as a "normal" human propensity on which people
vary.
Sec-
ond, authoritarian personality theory emphasized the sources
of authoritarianism as springing from psychodynamic pro-
cesses. Specifically, Adorno et al. (1950) postulated that strict
and harsh parental styles would provoke conflicts between the
child and parents that would be "unresolved." As a way of
re-
solving
these,
the child as an adult would submit to authorities
and be intolerant of those who would not. In contrast, we theo-
rize that such a personal history is unnecessary to developing a
relatively high SDO tendency. Rather, both temperament and
socialization probably influence one's level of
SDO.
Third and
most important, whereas authoritarianism is primarily con-
ceived as a desire for individual dominance resulting from ex-
periences with authority figures, SDO is regarded as the desire
that
some
categories of
people
dominate
others.
Because the two
constructs are defined differently, measurements of each should
not be highly correlated.
Given that authoritarianism should predict many of the same
variables we postulate SDO should predict, it is important for
us to show that SDO has explanatory value in addition to au-
thoritarianism. We tested the "marginal utility" of the SDO
construct by testing whether correlations between SDO and
support for legitimizing myths and policies are significant after
partialing out authoritarianism.
Conservatism
Political-economic conservatism serves as a legitimizing
myth in our theory, and thus
we
expect it to correlate positively
with SDO. Conservatism is also a well-known robust predictor
of social and political attitudes (e.g., Eysenck & Wilson, 1978;
Wilson, 1973). To show that SDO has utility in addition to po-
litical-economic conservatism,
we
tested whether SDO substan-
tially correlated with social attitudes after partialing out
conservatism.
Standard Personality Variables
Because
we
think our concept of SDO is a yet unstudied per-
sonality dimension, we expected it to be independent of other
standard personality variables such as self-esteem and the Big-
Five personality dimensions: Extraversion, Agreeableness,
Openness, Neuroticism, and Conscientiousness (see Costa &
MacRae,
1985;
John, 1990, for reviews).
Empathy,
Altruism,
Communality,
and
Tolerance
People who are highly empathic with others would seem to
be less
prejudiced and discriminatory against
out-groups.
Thus,
it is reasonable to expect a general concern for other people to
be negatively correlated with SDO. Similarly, any general pro-
social orientation might mitigate prejudiced feelings and behav-
iors toward out-group members, so altruism should be nega-
tively correlated with
SDO.
Furthermore, people who are quite
inclusive in their definitions of what constitutes an in-group
should be less able to discriminate against out-groups, so we
expected communality to be negatively correlated with SDO.
And
finally,
because tolerance is the antithesis of prejudice, we
might expect that a general measure of tolerance would be neg-
atively correlated with a general desire for in-group superiority.
We used Davis' (1983) multidimensional empathy scale, Super
and Nevill's (1985) altruism subscale, the Personal Attribute
Questionnaire (PAQ) Communality scale (Spence, Helmreich,
& Stapp, 1974), and the Jackson Personality Inventory (JPI)
Tolerance scale (Jackson,
1976)
to test
these
hypotheses. If SDO
has merit as a new personality variable, none of these corre-
lations should be very high.
PRESENT RESEARCH
Overview
We
examined data from
13
samples to test the predictive and
discriminant validity and reliability of our measure of SDO.
Our logic in using this large number of samples is to examine
statistically significant results that are reliable across samples.
We organized the results by topic, but we report the results in
each sample so that the reader can see the magnitude of effects
in each sample and the stability of the results across samples.
At the end of the Results section, we provide a summary of the
results in the form of meta-analyses.
Data Collection
Generally, subjects were college students who participated in
a study called "Social Attitudes" for partial course credit. All
of their responses were anonymous and confidential, and they
completed batteries of self-administered questionnaires. Sub-
jects in Samples
2,
3b, 5,6,8, 9, and
13
spent about
1
hr in our
laboratory completing the questionnaires. The experimenter
described the study as designed to measure students' social atti-
tudes and personal preferences. Subjects in Samples
1
and 13
completed the SDO scale after participating in unrelated exper-
iments, and subjects in the remaining samples completed the
SDO scale and follow-up scales in two consecutive mass-testing
sessions normally conducted on subject pool participants. All
subjects completed a demographic background sheet and our
14-item SDO scale intermixed with related items, a National-
ism scale based on Kosterman and Feshbach's (1989) measure,
along with other attitude or experience measures, each having
their own instructions and response scales. We also adminis-
tered some standard personality or attitude scales according
to the instructions of their authors. In several samples we
also administered ideological (legitimizing myths) or policy
attitude items on a questionnaire entitled "Policy Issues
Questionnaire."
SOCIAL DOMINANCE ORIENTATION745
Measures
SDO
In previous archival studies, we measured proxies for SDO
using items dealing with equality from the National Election
Study or the S6 Conservatism scale (see Sidanius, 1976). In de-
veloping the present measure of
SDO,
we tested over 70 items
whose content we felt related to SDO or to constructs one can
define
as
separate but that might
be
considered adjacent to SDO
(e.g., nationalism and prestige-striving), following Loevinger's
(1957) suggestion about scale construction. However, on the ba-
sis of our desire to develop a simple, unidimensional scale that
is balanced, we selected 14 items from this extensive question-
naire as the SDO scale. The selected items concerned the belief
that some people are inherently superior or inferior to others
and approval of unequal group relationships (see items in Ap-
pendix A). The 14-item SDO scale was balanced in that half
the items indicated approval of inequality and half indicated
approval of equality (see items in Appendix
A).
We
assume that
these items tap a latent construct and
so we
are interested in the
relationships between the scale mean and other measures rather
than relationships between individual SDO items and other
measures.
SDO is an attitudinal orientation, so instructions read,
"Which of the following objects or statements do you have a
positive or negative feeling towards? Beside each object or state-
ment,
place a
number from'
1'
to
'7'
which represents the degree
of your positive or negative feeling." The scale was labeled very
positive
(7),
positive
(6),
slightly positive
(5),
neither
positive nor
negative
(4),
slightly negative
(3),
negative
(2),
and
very negative
(1).
The order of the SDO items and the filler items differed
among Form A, completed by Samples 1, 2, 3, and 4; Form B,
completed by Samples 5, 6, 7, 8, and 12; and Form C, com-
pleted by Samples 9, 10, and
11.
The format and instructions
for the three forms were identical, and we saw no evidence that
results pertinent to reliability or validity issues differed across
the questionnaire form. Subsequent to the present research, we
have used just the 14 items on a questionnaire and found reli-
ability coefficients of
.90
and predictive validity results similar
to those reported below.
Political-Economic Conservatism
Some of the standard
scales
assessing political-economic con-
servatism actually measure individuals' support for particular
social policies
(e.g.,
the C-scale, Wilson
&
Patterson, 1968). Be-
cause we wished to measure political-economic conservatism
separately from policy attitudes, and because we wanted to use
a measure that should not vary with time and place, we used a
self-identified liberal-conservative measure in all samples. On
the
demographic background
sheet,
the political-economic con-
servatism question read, "Use one of the following numbers to
indicate your political views in the accompanying categories."
Below these instructions
was
a scale labeled
very liberal
(1),
lib-
eral
(2),
slightly liberal
(3),
middle of the
road
(4),
slightly
con-
servative
(5),
conservative
(6), and very
conservative
(7) and a
blank next to each type of
issue:
"foreign policy issues," "eco-
nomic issues," and "social issues." Political-economic conser-
vatism
was
the mean of self-ratings on these three items.
Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism research has been fraught with measure-
ment difficulties. After surveying the authoritarianism mea-
surement literature, we decided to administer two rather
different measures of authoritarianism, both of which are bal-
anced: the Right Wing Authoritarian
(RWA)
scale by Altemeyer
(1981) and Goertzel's (1987) bipolar personality measure.
Goertzel (1987) intended his adjective checklist to measure the
personality rather than the ideological aspect of authoritarian-
ism, but did show that it correlates with attitudes toward poli-
cies falling along toughness and consistency dimensions. Alte-
meyer's
(1981) scale is the
only other internally reliable measure
of authoritarianism that is close to the original conception of
authoritarianism, including conventionalism, authoritarian
submission, and authoritarian aggression (see Duckitt, 1989,
for a review).
Original Legitimizing Myths and Policy Attitudes
The consent form and instructions informed subjects that
their opinions and preferences toward a variety of
ideas,
kinds
of people,
events,
and
so
forth would
be
measured. On our "Pol-
icy
Issues
Questionnaire"
we
included items from various legit-
imizing myth or policy attitude scales. Items from each scale
were interspersed throughout the questionnaire. Next to each
item was a 1-7 scale, and the instructions read, "Which of the
following objects, events, or statements do you have a positive
or negative feeling towards? Please indicate your feelings by cir-
cling the appropriate number alongside each item. Use one of
the following responses. Remember, your first reaction is best.
Work
as
quickly
as
you can." The scale points were labeled
very
negative
(1),
negative
(2),
slightly negative
(3),
uncertain or
neu-
tral
(A),
slightly
positive
(5),
positive
(6),
and very
positive
(7).
Items from the original legitimizing myths and policy atti-
tude scales were selected for their content and for their internal
reliability across samples. These scales are shown in Appendix
B.
Several personality measures were used as
well;
these are de-
scribed in the Method section.
Method
Subjects
Although our 1,952 subjects were college students, they represent
some diversity in terms of
sex,
ethnicity, and income groups, coming
from public and private universities in California. Demographic infor-
mation about the samples
is
shown in Table 1.
Samples and Procedures
Sample 1 (spring 1990) consisted of
98
University of California at
Berkeley undergraduates
who
completed the CPI Dominance, Flexibil-
ity, and Capacity for Status subscales (Gough, 1987), the JPRF Domi-
nance subscale (Jackson, 1965), the JPI Tolerance subscale (Jackson,
1976),
and the Rosenberg (1965) Self-Esteem Scale (RSE).
Sample
2
(fall and winter 1990-1991) consisted of 463 San Jose State
University (SJSU) undergraduates who completed the CPI and JPRF
Dominance subscales; Mirels and Garrett's (1971) Protestant Work
Ethic Scale; the Just World Scale (Rubin & Peplau, 1975); the four-
factor Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), which measures empathy
(Davis, 1983); a number of policy attitude measures; and some demo-
graphic descriptors.
746
PRATTO, SIDANIUS, STALLWORTH, AND MALLE
Table
1
Description
of
Samples
Measure
n
Age range
%
men
%
women
%
Euro-American
%
Asian-American
%
Hispanic
%
Black
%
Arab-American
Under 20K
20-30K
30-40K
40-55K
55-7OK
70-100K
100-150K
15O-2OOK
200K.+
1
98
17-34
50
50
48
23
13
15
1
2
463
15-56
47
53
38
40
8
5
2
12
9
11
17
20
14
8
5
5
3a
81
17-21
3b
57
17-21
51
49
58
16
4
14
6
45
Sample
6
Age and gender breakdown
190
47
53
144
17-35
49
51
49
17-23
69
31
Ethnic breakdown
38
40
8
5
2
53
24
10
8
0
59
24
15
2
0
Family income
10
8
5
10
10
21
15
13
8
21
16
12
8
19
14
6
3
1
6
6
8
10
10
19
19
11
11
7
224
50
50
49
25
10
6
1
8
115
17-59
40
60
29
51
14
2
3
17
13
13
15
17
13
5
2
5
9
97
17-36
33
67
19
45
17
10
8
19
15
17
12
15
9
2
3
6
10
231
54
46
67
22
4
4
1
11
100
12
135
59
41
50
33
10
4
1
13
46
100
0
52
33
11
0
4
Note. Missing numbers indicate that information was not available. Samples 4, 7, 10-13 are probably similar in age distribution and range to
Sample 3. Income was self-reported annual family income in thousands of dollars.
Sample 3a (September, 1990) consisted of 81 Stanford University un-
dergraduates who completed the SDO scale as part of a mass-testing
session. Sample 3b included 57 subjects from the same population who
participated in a study in our lab in December, 1990, during which they
completed the SDO scale again and a number of attitude and personal-
ity measures. The overlap of these two samples (N = 25 with complete
data) was used to assess the cross-time reliability of
SDO.
Sample 4 (January, 1991) consisted of 190 Stanford University un-
dergraduates who completed the SDO scale and an attitude scale about
the Iraq war assessing environmental concerns in the war, anti-Arab
racism, willingness to sacrifice for the war, willingness to restrict civil
liberties for the war effort, and support for the use of military force by
the United States against Iraq.
Sample
5
(fall 1991) consisted of 144 SJSU undergraduates who com-
pleted the RSE (Rosenberg, 1965), the Rombough and Ventimiglia
(1981) Tri-Dimensional Sexism Scale, the Sexist Attitudes Toward
Women Scale (Benson & Vincent, 1980), the Rape Myths Scale (Burt,
1980),
the Altruism subscale from the Values Scale (Super & Nevill,
1985),
and the IRI (Davis, 1983). We also measured policy attitudes
toward gay rights, women's equality policies, militarism, punitiveness,
racial policies, and environmental policies. In addition, we measured
ideologies such as anti-Black racism, elitism, patriotism, belief in equal
opportunity, and opposition to miscegenation.
Sample 6 (September, 1991) consisted of 49 Stanford undergraduates
who completed the same measures as subjects in Sample 5.
Sample 7 (September, 1991) consisted of 224 Stanford undergradu-
ates who completed a battery of personality questions, including Malle
and Horowitz's (1994) bipolar descriptions of Factors I (Extraversion),
II (Agreeableness), IV (Neuroticism), and V (Conscientiousness) of the
Big-Five personality dimensions (see John, 1990, for a review). A few
weeks later, in the 3 days including and following the day Clarence
Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court, those subjects who had
given their prior permission were telephoned and asked four questions
about their opinions regarding this Supreme Court nomination. In all,
149 subjects were reached by telephone, and the response rate was
100%.
Sample 8 (February, 1992) consisted of
115
Stanford undergraduates
who completed the PAQ (Spence et al., 1974), CPI Dominance scale
(Gough, 1987), JPRF Dominance scale (Jackson, 1965), JPI Tolerance
scale (Jackson, 1976), IRI (Davis, 1983), RSE (Rosenberg, 1965), a
post-Iraq war attitude survey, a general war attitude survey, and a num-
ber of other policy attitude measures similar to those in Sample 5.
Sample 9 (April, 1992) consisted of 97 SJSU undergraduates. They
completed the CPI and JPRF Dominance subscales; the JPI Tolerance
subscale; the IRI; the Protestant Work Ethic Scale; all 19 of the author-
itarian bipolar adjective choices (Goertzel, 1987); Altemeyer's (1981)
30-item RWA Scale; John, Donahue, and Kentle's (1992) Big-Five Per-
sonality Inventory; the PAQ; McConahay's (1986) Modern Racism
Scale; and Katz and Hass' (1988) Pro-Black, Anti-Black, and Humani-
tarian-Egalitarian Scales. They also completed a number of policy atti-
tude items similar to those for Sample 5.
Sample 10 (March, 1992) consisted of
231
Stanford undergraduates
who completed the SDO scale. Two weeks later, 176 of these subjects
completed a comprehensive survey about their ideologies and general
attitudes about the death penalty and their attitude about the execution
of Robert Alton Harris, who was executed by the state of California the
day before the survey was administered.
Sample 11 (March, 1991) consisted of 100 Stanford University un-
dergraduates who completed the SDO scale and a battery of other ques-
tionnaires including Snyder's (1974) self-monitoring
scales;
Fenigstein,
Scheier, and Buss' (1975) Self-Consciousness
scales;
and Malle and Ho-
rowitz' (1994) bipolar adjective versions of Factors I and IV of the Big-
Five personality dimensions.
Sample 12 (January, 1992) included 139 Stanford undergraduates
SOCIAL DOMINANCE ORIENTATION747
who completed the SDO scale in a mass-testing session. Of
these,
70
also completed Malle and Horowitz' (1994) measures of Factors I
and
IV.
Sample
13
included 46 undergraduate men at Stanford during 1990-
1991 who were selected to be in an experiment on the basis of having
either extremely high or low SDO scores in Samples 3,4, and
11.
They
participated
in the
experiment between
6
weeks and
8
months after their
first testing and completed the SDO scale again.
Results
We first present the internal and temporal reliability of our
SDO scale. We then examine whether this measure related to
the ideological, policy
attitude,
and hierarchy role variables
pre-
dicted by social dominance theory. We show that SDO was ei-
ther independent of other personality variables with which it
might be confused or that it predicted the attitudinal outcomes
over
and above the effects of these other
variables.
We
also show
that it was not redundant with other personality measures. Fi-
nally,
we
show that SDO predicted new social and political atti-
tudes.
To
summarize the results across
samples,
we report sim-
ple averages
of the internal reliability coefficients across samples
and averaged correlations across samples using Fisher's z-to-r
transformation.
Reliability of the SDO Measure
Unidimensionality
We conducted two kinds of analyses to confirm that the 14
SDO items assessed a single construct. First, within each sam-
ple,
principal-components analyses of the 14 SDO items
showed that a single dimension captured the bulk of the vari-
ance in these items. That is, there was a precipitous drop be-
tween the values of the first and second eigenvalues in every
sample. Second, we subjected our largest sample, Sample 2 {N
= 446 with complete data on all SDO items) to confirmatory
factor analysis. Using maximum-likelihood estimation, we
tested a model in which all 14 items were driven by a single
latent construct. Each item had a statistically significant rela-
tionship to the latent factor
(ps <
.0001).
By
freeing only
3
of 91
possible off-diagonal elements of
the
66
matrix,2 we obtained a
satisfactory x2/dfratio of 2.89
(e.g.,
Carmines
&
Mclver, 1981),
suggesting that our data are consistent with a model in which a
single dimension underlies responses to all the items. Thus, the
14
items appear to measure a unitary construct.
Internal
Reliability
Item statistics showed that the 14-item SDO scale showed
good internal reliability across all samples, averaging a = .83
(see internal reliability coefficients and item statistics by sample
in Table
2).
Item analyses also showed that all items
were
highly
correlated with the remainder of the scale in every sample. The
average lowest item-total correlation across samples was .31
and the average highest item-total correlation across samples
was
.63.
Item 7 had the lowest item-total correlation in 4 of 12
independent samples (Z =
3.52,
p
<
.001). Item 9 had the high-
est item-total correlation in 3 samples (Z = 2.40, p < .01). No
other items were either the most or least correlated across sam-
ples
in numbers that differed from chance
using a
binomial test.
Stability of SDO
Measure Over
Time
We measured the stability of scores on our scale over time in
two
samples.
Twenty-five of the subjects in Sample
3 were
tested
on
SDO twice
at a 3-month interval. Their
SDO
scores substan-
tially correlated from Time
1
to Time 2 (r =
.81,
p < .01). The
mean difference from Time
1
to Time 2 was 0.09 on a 7-point
scale,
which did not differ reliably from zero
{t <
1).
In contrast,
the Time
1-Time
2
correlation for the 10-item RSE
was
.50.
Sample 13 consisted of
46
of the highest and lowest scoring
men on the SDO scale from Samples 3, 4, and 11, who com-
pleted that scale again some months later. The correlation in
this sample from Time
1
to Time 2 was .84 (p < .001), and the
mean difference in scores from Time
1
to Time
2 was
essentially
zero (M
=
0.03, t < 1; for the high group, M = -0.03 and for
the low group, M = 0.09). All of the subjects first classified as
"high" or "low" on SDO met this criterion again in the second
testing. The near-zero mean changes within both groups are
particularly telling because one could have expected at least
some regression toward the mean. Thus, even in different test-
ing contexts, our SDO measure appears highly stable in the
short term.
Predictive Measures
Gender Differences
The gender difference
we
expected showed in all but
two
sam-
ples;
men were higher on SDO than women (see point-biserial
correlations in Table 2).
SDO and
Hierarchy Role
A question on the demographic background questionnaire
asked subjects in what sector of
the
economy they intended to
work after graduation. There were 20 career choices provided.
Theoretically,
we
define those whose work
is
primarily aimed at
protecting, serving, or benefiting elite members of society more
than oppressed members of society "hierarchy-enhancing."
Those whose work benefits the oppressed more than elites we
define as "hierarchy-attenuating." As such, we classified sub-
jects as (a) hierarchy enhancers (those intending careers in law,
law enforcement, politics, and business); (b) "middlers" who
would not obviously attenuate or enhance inequality through
their professional work, such as science and
sales;
or (c) hierar-
chy attenuators (those intending to be in such professions as
social work or counseling; see also Sidanius, Pratto, Martin, &
Stallworth, 1991). We predicted that hierarchy enhancers
would have higher SDO levels than hierarchy attenuators, and
that middlers' SDO levels would fall somewhere between the
other
two.
Sample
2 was
large enough to test this
hypothesis;
we
also combined Samples 5, 6, 8, and 9 to replicate the test. Be-
cause more women tend to go into hierarchy-attenuating ca-
reers,
and because we know that SDO exhibits a gender differ-
ence,
we also included subject sex as an independent variable
along with hierarchy role. SDO was the outcome variable in
simultaneous regression-style analyses of variance (ANOVAs)
2 The freed elements of the matrix corresponded to Items 8 and 9,
Items
2
and
4,
and Items
10
and
11
in Apendix A.
748PRATTO, SIDANIUS, STALLWORTH, AND MALLE
Table 2
Coefficient
Alphas,
Correlation With Subject
Gender,
and
Average
Item
Means
and
Variances
by
Sample for
14-Item Social Dominance Orientation Scale
Measure
a
M
Variance
1
.85
.29**
2.44
0.14
2
.83
.27**
2.74
0.22
3a
.84
.32**
2.55
0.18
3b
.85
.31*
2.31
0.17
4
.84
.32**
2.59
0.21
5
.81
.11
2.97
0.40
Sample
6
.84
.36*
2.50
0.24
7
.89
.28*
2.59
0.23
8
.82
.27**
3.02
0.18
9
.80
.03
3.12
0.36
10
.83
.30**
3.13
0.66
11
.81
2.91
0.27
12
.83
.26**
2.60
0.23
Note. Positive correlations with gender indicate that men were higher than women
*p<.05.
**p<.0l.
with planned contrasts. In Sample 2, the results were as ex-
pected: Those who intended to work in hierarchy-attenuating
professions had lower SDO levels (M
=
2.28) than did middlers
{M
=
2.72),
F(
1,432)
= 5.49, p
<
.05,
and also lower
levels
than
those intending to work in hierarchy-enhancing professions
(M
= 2.88), F(l, 432) =
10.21,
p <
.01.
Men also had higher SDO
levels (M
=
3.03) than women (M
=
2.51),
F(
1,432)
=
36.86,
p
<
.001.
In the merged sample, hierarchy attenuators again had
lower SEX) levels (M
=
2.64) than hierarchy enhancers (M =
3.09), F(l, 378) =
5.01,
p < .05. Middlers' SDO levels were in
the middle (M
=
2.94) and were not distinguishable from those
of either enhancers or attenuators. Again, men (M = 3.07) had
higher SDO levels than women (M
=
2.90), F(\, 378) = 3.72, p
= .05. Results from both these large samples indicate that in-
tended hierarchy attenuators did indeed have lower SDO levels
than intended hierarchy enhancers, even after controlling for
subjects' sex.
SDO and
Hierarchy-Legitimizing
Myths
We
hypothesized that SDO should be related to any social or
political ideology that helps legitimize group-based inequality.
Ideologies. The three-item index of