Disability Identity Questionnaire - Scales and Validity
This one was inspired by an interesting book, Black and White Racial Identity: Theory, Research and Practice. In that book, they talk about stages in development of racial identity for both black and white people in US.
They also include a questionnaire that caught my eye, the Black Racial Identity Attitude Scale (RIAS-B). I decided to reword the questionnaire and give it to a bunch of (49 in total, though some left certain questions blank) disabled people to see whether they'd show similar patterns of responses.
There are four subscales on the RIAS-B, corresponding to four theorized stages: Preencounter, Encounter, Immersion and Internalization. Preencounter refers to a black racist, basically - someone who has internalized the prejudice aimed at them, or at the very least thinks it applies to 'other blacks' even if it doesn't apply to them personally. Encounter is a transition point when the Preencounter person suddenly realizes that their worldview isn't working for them, and they need to change something. Immersion is 'black supremacist/separatist', someone who rejects whites and views blacks as superior, and is seen as an initial solution to the problems that Encounter raises. Internalization is viewing both blacks and whites as equal, and wanting all diversity to be respected.
(Personally, I'd say those stages apply to me. Before I knew I was autistic, I viewed disability as interesting but never questioned the idea that it was a tragic thing. Then, I started thinking autistic was better than neurotypical, around the same time I was starting to realize I was autistic. At that time, also, I considered other disabilities to be totally different from autism. And then I started viewing all disabilities as part of diversity, and believing that no one kind of person was the best.)
So, here's the scale validity tests, first of all. (Note: Each statement is answered either yes or no, with a yes score counting for the relevant subscale.)
The Preencounter scale, with 9 questions, had a Cronbach's alpha of .578, which is poorer than my teacher's recommended .70, but similar to Ponterotto and Wise (1987)'s finding of .63 for the original scale.
I also analyzed correlations between the individual questions and the total score (p value of less than .05 is considered significant and italicized):
- 'I believe that large numbers of disabled people are incompetent' - correlation .704, p < .001
- 'I believe that nondisabled people look and/or express themselves better than disabled people' - correlation .513, p < .001
- 'I feel very uncomfortable around disabled people' - correlation .191, p = .209
- 'I believe that to be disabled is not necessarily good' - correlation .299, p = .046
- 'I believe that disabled people should try to emulate nondisabled people and seek to cure or lessen their disability' - correlation .637, p < .001
- 'I believe that disabled people are damaged in some way and are not meant to be' - correlation .692, p < .001
- 'I feel guilty and/or anxious about some of the things I believe about disabled people' - correlation .403, p = .006
- 'I feel that a disabled person's most effective way of solving problems is to become part of nondisabled society' - correlation .459, p = .002
- 'I believe that nondisabled people are inherently more capable than disabled people' - correlation .645, p < .001
Preencounter2, with 7 questions, had a Cronbach's alpha of .714, which is above my teacher's cutoff. So, that's good.
The Encounter scale, with 3 items, had a Cronbach's alpha of -.15, which is abysmally poor. In comparison, Ponterotto and Wise found an alpha of .37, which is still fairly poor.
Unsurprisingly, given the very small number of items, the correlation between each individual item and the total was high. However, none of the items showed any significant correlation with each other:
- 'I feel unable to involve myself in nondisabled groups/activities, and am increasing my involvement in disabled groups/activities' - correlation -.226 with 'reading and thinking' and .05 with 'feeling guilty'
- 'I find myself reading a lot of disabled literature and thinking about being disabled' - correlation -.226 with 'unable to involve' and .066 with 'feeling guilty'
- 'I feel guilty and/or anxious about some of the things I believe about disabled people' - correlation .05 with 'unable to involve' and .066 with 'reading and thinking'
The Immersion subscale, with 7 items, had a Cronbach's alpha of .306, which is pretty poor. In contrast, Ponterotto and Wise found an aplha of .72 with the original version.
When I looked at individuals items and their correlation to the total, I found the following:
- 'I feel unable to involve myself in nondisabled groups/activities, and am increasing my involvement in disabled groups/activities' - correlation .497, p < .001
- 'I often find myself referring to nondisabled people in derogatory ways (eg 'stupid NTs')' - correlation .571, p < .001
- 'I frequently confront the system and the people representing it' - correlation .605, p < .001
- 'I believe that the world should be interpreted from a disabled person's perspective' - correlation .445, p = .002
- 'I have changed my style of life to fit my beliefs about disabled people' - correlation .229, p = .125
- 'I speak my mind regardless of the consequences, even fairly serious ones' - correlation .388, p = .008
- 'I believe that everything about disabled people is good, and limit myself to disabled activities' - correlation .361, p = .014
Immersion2 had a Cronbach's alpha of .417, still fairly poor. This scale probably needs to be either scrapped or redesigned, since it doesn't seem to apply very well to disabled people. It could be that too many questions involve activities that a disability might impact, such as being unable to involve oneself in nondisabled activities due to inaccessibility. Or, considering that 65% of my sample was autistic, it could be that they interpreted certain questions differently due to literalism or other cognitive differences. Or, perhaps this stage doesn't really occur in disability identity. Further study would be needed to determine this.
The Internalization subscale, with 9 items, got a Cronbach's alpha of .695, a big contrast from Ponterotto and Wise's finding of .37. Rounded up, this would be exactly .70, so just barely meeting my teacher's cut-off.
For the individual items, I found:
- 'I believe that being disabled is a positive experience' - correlation .748, p < .001
- 'I know through experience what being disabled in our society means' - correlation .221, p = .160
- 'I feel an overwhelming attachment to disabled people' - correlation .555, p < .001
- 'I involve myself in causes that will help all oppressed people' - correlation .521, p < .001
- 'I feel good about being disabled, but I do not limit myself to disabled activities' - correlation .717, p < .001
- 'I feel excitement and joy when among disabled people' - correlation .641, p < .001
- 'People, regardless of disability, have strengths and limitations' - correlation -.110, p = .487
- 'I am determined to find my disabled identity' - correlation .522, p < .001
- 'I believe that because I am disabled, I have many strengths' - correlation .708, p < .001
Internalization2 had a Cronbach's alpha of .736, which is pretty good.
Average Scale Scores
I calculated scale scores by adding all the 'yes' items in a scale and then dividing by the number of items in the scale. So, 1 is the maximum and 0 is the minimum score on each scale.
For the original scales, I found the following:
- Preencounter - mean .1827, SD .15741
- Encounter - mean .4444, SD .24618
- Immersion - mean .4441, SD .20254
- Internalization - mean .7222, SD .22791
- Preencounter - mean .1094, SD .18889
- Immersion - mean .5000, SD .26247
- Internalization - mean .6739, SD .28676