Development of the Perceptions of Racism Scale


  • Nanny L. Green

    Corresponding author
    1. Alpha Eta, is Assistant Professor, University of California at San Francisco. The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Dyanne D. Afonso, RN, PhD, Jeanne Dejoseph, RN, CNM, PhD, William Holzemer, RN, PhD, Steven Paul, PhD and Dayna Yearwood, MS, CNM. This study was supported by a National Research Service Award Predoctoral Fellowship (NR06430), National Center for Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health and the President's Dissertation Year Award, Graduate Division, University of California-San Francisco.
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University of California-San Francisco, School of Nursing, Box 0606, N411Y, Department of Family Health Care Nursing, San Francisco, CA 94143-0606.


Racism may be a factor in low-birth-weight (LBW) and preterm delivery in African American chiidbearing women. Because no satisfactory measure of racism existed, the Perception of Racism Scale (PRS) was developed. The PRS was pilot tested on 109 participants from churches and community organizations. The scale was then used in a study of 136 chiidbearing women to investigate LBW and preterm delivery. Twenty items rated on a 4-point Likert-type scale were scored with 1 as the lowest and 4 as the highest perception of racism. Alpha reliabilities were .88 for the pilot and .91 for the study. Content validity was strengthened by expert panel critique. Reliability, content validity, and construct validity were demonstrated and no undue participant burden was observed. The scale is an effective instrument to measure perceptions of racism by African American women.