The Social Comparison Scale: Testing the Validity, Reliability, and Applicability of the Iowa-Netherlands Comparison Orientation Measure (INCOM) on the German Population

36 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2011

See all articles by Simone Schneider

Simone Schneider

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jürgen Schupp

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); Institute for Sociology, Freie Universität; The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: January 16, 2011

Abstract

Social comparisons are an essential source of information about the self. Research in social psychology has shown individual variation in the tendency toward comparison with other people’s opinions and abilities, raising the question of whether social comparisons are driven by psychological dispositions. To test the empirical validity of this proposition, Gibbons and Buunk (1999) created an instrument that measures the tendency to engage in social comparison and captures central aspects of the self, the other, and the psychological interaction between the two. The Iowa-Netherlands Comparison Orientation Measure (INCOM) comprises 11 core items that have been tested in the United States and the Netherlands. To date, however, no attempt has been made to implement this instrument in a large-scale survey of the German population. To fill this gap, the core items of the INCOM scale were integrated into the 2010 SOEP (Socio-Economic Panel Study) pretest. This paper analyzes the validity of the INCOM scale and discusses potentials for shortening the instrument for continued use in large-scale population surveys. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis as well as scale validation tests (invariance tests combined with external validation techniques) produce acceptable results and confirm the measurement instrument as valid and effective. With regard to shortening the questionnaire, a six-item scale is recommended, which shows excellent model fit and proves to be a reliable and efficient indicator to grasp individual dispositions towards social comparison.

Keywords: Social comparisons, relative evaluations, reference groups, validity tests, SOEP

JEL Classification: D31, D63, Z13

Suggested Citation

Schneider, Simone and Schupp, Juergen, The Social Comparison Scale: Testing the Validity, Reliability, and Applicability of the Iowa-Netherlands Comparison Orientation Measure (INCOM) on the German Population (January 16, 2011). SOEPpaper No. 360. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1772742

Simone Schneider (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Juergen Schupp

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, D-10117
Germany
+49 30 8 978 9238 (Phone)
+49 30 8 978 9109 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.diw.de/deutsch/das_institut/mitarbeiter/innen/26652.html?uid=jschupp

Institute for Sociology, Freie Universität ( email )

Garystr. 55
I
Berlin, D-14195
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.polsoz.fu-berlin.de/soziologie/mitarbeiter/b_hochschullehrer/schupp.html

The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/index_html?lang=de&mainframe=http%3A//www.iza.org/de/webcontent/personnel/fellows

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
491
Abstract Views
2,851
rank
55,886
PlumX Metrics