Social Cognition in Context: Validating a Cartoon-Based Attributional Measure for Urban Girls


  • This research was supported by an NIMH Grant to the first author, K23-MH01728. This research was made possible, in part, by the support of the School District of Philadelphia. Opinions contained in this report reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the School District of Philadelphia.

concerning this article should be addressed to Stephen S. Leff, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Department of Pediatric Psychology, Rm. 1480 at CHOP North; 3405 Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104. Electronic mail may be sent to


Standard approaches to the development of psychological measures emphasize the role of the research team in identifying constructs, generating and retaining items, and establishing psychometric soundness. Although there are a number of strengths associated with these methods, the resulting measures may not be culturally sensitive to minority cultural groups. In order to address this need, the authors partnered with African American inner-city 3rd- and 4th-grade girls (predominantly 9- and 10-year-olds) to design and validate a cartoon-based hostile attributional bias measure that is developmentally and culturally sensitive. This paper illustrates how a partnership-based research model can be used to design measurement tools sensitive to the ways in which developmental processes are influenced by an urban, low-income, ecological context.