Social Ethos: Scale Development and Validation

Tasha Singh Parihar*
Prof. (Dr.) Devesh Kishore**
Prof. (Dr.) Debashish Chakrabarti***


It is assumed that since the last four decades the influence of foreign media in India is bringing a sea change in the country’s culture and practices. The ‘Y’ generation is breathing digital media. Hence, the society is undergoing a socio-cultural shift. Social ethos denotes the daily practices of a society. It ranges from social interaction to participation in various activities. People are believed to have turned self-centred, strictly minding their own business. This is not the social ethos of an Indian. A country with a vivid history, a homeland of several dynasties cannot be abandoned at the altar of digital revolution. India inherits strong social values from generations to generation. This study is an attempt to develop and validate a scale for measuring the social ethos of India.


Be it Indian mythology or the Jatak tales, the social ethosis always given supreme consideration. Indian society is believed to have high social values and ethics. Like the fairy tales of the West, Indian children are brought up on ‘JatakaKathaye’ or ‘Jatak Tales’ and ‘Panchtantra Stories’ to instil high morals and values in them. This value system is changing in India (Social and Cultural Ethos of India, K.K. Sinha,2008). There is a shift from joint families to nuclear families. The percentage of working woman is increasing. Infact, preference for working women is very evident in the matrimonial advertisements of metro cities. Since both the parents are working, children are raised at the crèche and the play school. Parents have to sacrifice their career to devote time to children. The child is pressurised since the beginning of his school age to score 90+ percent marks. Young talents are competing on reality shows on Indian television screen. Literacy rate of the country has reached 74.04% (Census of India, 2011) which is a very positive fact to eradicate superstition, social taboos and various ill-practices of the Indian societies. The heavy exposure to western culture and society through private television networks (1991) and Internet (2000) has seen a lot of change in the lifestyle. Somewhere the advancement in the lifestyle has brought a great change in the social ethos of people in urban India.

People are self–centred and focused on their personal good. Affinity amongst people is declining. Social responsibilities are ignored. These statements have no significance until supported with evidence and measurement. Hence, this study was planned to develop a scale to measure social ethos of India.

Operational Definition

Social ethos is a term used to describe the social practices performed by an individual to survive in the society with dignity. It reflects the common behaviour of a person with various age groups. It is a composition of common beliefs, norms and social relations.

The study is a detailed procedure of social ethos scale development following the work of DeVellis (2003) on steps of scale development leading to its validation.


  • Develop a scale for measuring social ethos of Indian people.
  • Know the reliability of the social ethos scale.
  • Find the validity of the social ethos scale.


It is hypothesized that the items in the Social Ethos Scale refect four diverse themes, all of which refect the higher order construct of Social Ethos.

Following the scale development process of DeVellis (2003):

Step no.1 – Determination of the construct to be measured

In this stage the construct of the scale is defined. The construct for this study is Social Ethos which is defined as the social practices performed by an individual to survive in the society with dignity. It reflects the common behaviour of a person with respect to the four themes – Integrity, Belongingness, Social Equality and Family.

Step no.2 -Development of statements

Keeping in view the themes for Social Ethos, books, articles and blogs based on Integrity, Belongingness, Social Equality and Family were reviewed out of which 16 statements were developed. Integrity was expressed in four statements, Belongingness was represented through three statements, Social Equality could be considered with five statements and Family was narrated with four statements. Few statements were contradictory to the themes which were included with the purpose of reverse scoring.

Step no.3 – Deciding the measurement format

This stage plans the measurement format for the scale. Five points scale is the best fit to get a reliable score. The social ethos scale here is also a five point scale of ‘5= Very Important’ to ‘1= Least Important.’

Step no.4 – Review from the experts

It is necessary to get the experts feedback over the statements developed for the Social Ethos Scale. Fifteen subject experts dealing with teaching and research in the area of Behavioural Science, Psychology and Social Sciences were requested to give their expert comments and review the statements on a five points scale of ‘5= Very Important’ to ‘1= Least Important.’ On calculating the mean of each statement on the basis of the rating received by the experts the high rating statements (12 statements out of 16) were finally considered for further action.

Step no.5 – Inclusion of validation item

To conduct a validity test, items based on ‘Positive Relations with Others ’from Ryff Scale of Psychological Well Being is considered for conducting concurrent validity. This is one of the six dimensions of Ryff scale and it deals with the extent to which youths have satisfying, trusting relationships with other people. Eight items were taken from this dimension because they represent the construct that can potentially cover the social ethos.

Step no.6–Quantitative testing of the scale’s reliability and validity

To conduct quantitative testing of the scale, a minimum of 250 participants should be considered. (Steps of Scale Development, DeVellis 2003) Keeping this in view the reliability and validity test was conducted with 250 participants. (N=250)

The participants of the study were youth 15 years to 24 years old (M= 1.62 & S.D=0.48). They belong to the National Capital Region (NCR) and are students by occupation. The reason of selecting this age group is to examine change in social ethos of the young generation. Students of the Amity University were requested to indicate their agreement to the 12 item scale along with the eight items of Ryff scale.

The reliability test found the coefficient alpha (r= 0.84) of the 12 item scale of Social Ethos.

The validity test found the concurrent validity to be significant at the 0.01 level [(2-tailed) = 0.310]

Step no.7 – Evaluation of items

The items were tested using Confirmatory Factor Analysis on AMOS 20 software. The hypothesis states that the items in the Social Ethos Scale refectfour diverse themes, all of which refect the higher-order construct of Social Ethos. It was seen through the factor analysis if all the items are grouped as per the themes. Reverse score was applied on the selected items before the analysis. All the loadings were found to be > .60 which is significant.

Step no. 8 – Optimization of scale length

The total number of items in the social ethos scale is 12 which represent the four themes of the subject. The average time taken by respondents was 7-10 minutes. Even if some other measures are added by the researcher the total time should not exceed 15 minutes. Hence, there is no need to reduce the items of the scale. The scale is ready to operational studies of measuring social ethos of India.


The Social Ethos Scale is a reliable and valid scale to measure the social ethos of India. This paves way for behavioural studies and other related domain subjects of social sciences. This scale can be utitilised by psychologists to measure the personality of the person in the context of social wellbeing. The themes could be further added to elaborate the variability of the construct. The statements have to be developed carefully and factor analysis is a must at both the levels i.e. Exploratory Factor Analysis and Confirmatory Factor Analysis. The model of Fit has to be checked on AMOS software.

In the present scale all the items are grouped in the themes and are true representative of the construct.


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  • Bandalos, D. L. (2002). The effects of item parceling on goodness-of-ft and parameter estimate bias in structural equation modeling. Structural Equation Modeling, 9, 78–102.
  • Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182.
* Ph D Scholar and Asst. Professor,
Amity School of Communication,
Amity University, Noida, India
** Co- Guide, Professor Emeritus and Former Director,
Electronic Media Centre, IGNOU, India
*** Guide and Professor, Amity School of Communication,
Amity University, Noida, India

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