The political solidarity measure: development and validation in University student samples

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Neufeld, Katelin Helene Siemens
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Political solidarity is often key to addressing societal inequities and injustice (Mallett, Huntsinger, Sinclair, & Swim, 2008; Scholz, 2009). Yet social psychology is without a common definition or comprehensive measure of this construct, complicating advancements in this burgeoning field. To address these gaps, across five computer-based studies of Canadian university student samples, I created and validated the Political Solidarity Measure (PSM). I conceptualized political solidarity as consisting of three factors: allyship with a disadvantaged outgroup, a connection to their cause, and a commitment to working with them to achieve social change. In Study 1, 1,594 participants completed the initial 30-item pool. A series of exploratory factor analyses, along with indices of factor retention (e.g., when m = 3, RMSEA.LB < .06, AIC Δi < 1), supported the three-factor model. I retained three items per factor to create the 9-item PSM used in subsequent studies. Confirming this factor structure, a three-factor model adequately fit data collected for Study 2 (N = 273; Robust RMSEA = 08; Robust CFI = .97); I thus retained the three-factor model. In Study 3 (N = 259), I found evidence of the PSM’s convergent validity (rs > |.19|, ps < .03), discriminant validity (rs < |.10|, ps > .23), and its medium-term (three to six month) retest reliability, r(254) = .62, p < .001. Study 4 (N = 130) also assessed retest reliability, but in the short-term (a three-week period), r(121) = .60, p < .001. Finally, I demonstrate the PSM’s predictive validity in Study 5 (N = 221). Controlling for modern racism, PSM scores predicted collective action intentions and behavior benefitting the outgroup: Participants who reported higher political solidarity donated more to the outgroup’s cause, β = .25, t(215) = 3.21, p = .002, and were more likely to agree to create a message of support, than not agree, b(SE) = 1.09 (0.27), p < .001, OR = 2.98, 95% CI [1.76, 5.05]. The PSM will enable measurement of political solidarity across issues and time, facilitate comparisons of interventions to shift political solidarity, and add to knowledge of intergroup relations and social change.
Political solidarity, Collective action, Scale development, Scale validation