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Keywords:

  • authoritarianism;
  • conservatism;
  • extremism;
  • racism;
  • right-wing ideology

Abstract

The present study compared in a Flemish adult sample (N = 480) four recently developed authoritarianism scales as well as the widely used Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) scale. Results revealed that all these measures were strongly related and that they showed relationships of comparable magnitude with various indicators of right-wing ideology such as conservatism and racism, as well as with political party preferences. Analyses confirmed the superior fit of a multidimensional model for the scales that are assumed to have an explicit underlying multidimensional structure, but it was also revealed that there was little consensus on what these dimensions exactly mean. Finally, the results indicated serious problems of overlap between cultural conservatism and authoritarianism for some of the scales. Having relied exclusively on an empirical method for comparing the utility of these scales, the use of other criteria for a final assessment of the authoritarianism scales is elaborated upon. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.