Standard Article

Bogardus Social Distance Scale

  1. Kurt F. Geisinger

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0135

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Geisinger, K. F. 2010. Bogardus Social Distance Scale. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The Bogardus Social Distance Scale was an early technique for measuring attitudes toward racial and ethnic groups. The basic concept behind the Bogardus scale is that the more prejudiced an individual is against a particular group, the less that person will wish to interact with members of that group (R. M. Dawes, 1972). Thus, the items that compose a Bogardus scale describe relationships into which a respondent might be willing to enter with a member of the specified cultural group (e.g., spouse, friend, neighbor, co-worker, citizen, visitor to our country). Items are worded in terms of inclusion or exclusion. “Would you accept an ‘X' as a spouse?” is an example of an inclusion question and “Would you keep all ‘Ys' out of America?” is an example of an exclusion question. The attitude or esteem with which the respondent holds the specified group is defined as the closeness of relationship that the respondent reports as being willing to accept with a member of that group.


  • attitude measurement;
  • Guttman scale;
  • prejudice;
  • scaling