Evaluating the measurement reliabilities of developmental idealism measures

Arland Thornton, University of Michigan
Georgina Binstock, Centro de Estudios de Poblaci├│n (CENEP) y CONICET, Argentina
Linda Young-DeMarco, University of Michigan
Colter Mitchell, Princeton University
Kathryn M. Yount, Emory University
Yu Xie, University of Michigan

This paper investigates the measurement properties of empirical measures of developmental idealism. Developmental idealism is a set of beliefs and values stating that modern societies and families are better than traditional ones, that modern families facilitate modern societies, and that modern societies foster modern families. Previous research has demonstrated that developmental idealism is widespread internationally, but provides little evidence about whether beliefs concerning developmental idealism can be measured reliably at the individual level. We estimate levels of reliability of such measures using multiple conceptualizations of the factor structure underlying the empirical observations. We estimate measurement reliabilities using survey data collected in 2007 and 2008 from Argentina, China, and Egypt. The data indicate that when we have family items that are measuring very similar underlying constructs, the measurement reliabilities are very high. These results provide evidence that the constructs of developmental idealism can be measured with a high degree of reliability.

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Presented in Session 6: Measurement issues and survey instruments