SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

Ambivalence is a psychological state in which a person holds mixed feelings (positive and negative) towards some psychological object. Standard methods of attitude measurement, such as Likert and semantic differential scales, ignore the possibility of ambivalence; ambivalent responses cannot be distinguished from neutral ones. This neglect arises out of an assumption that positive and negative affects towards a particular psychological object are bipolar, i.e., unidimensional in opposite directions. This assumption is frequently untenable. Conventional item statistics and measures of test internal consistency are ineffective as checks on this assumption; it is possible for a scale to be multidimensional and still display apparent internal consistency. Factor analysis is a more effective procedure. Methods of measuring ambivalence are suggested, and implications for research are discussed.