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Social psychology and politics
Social psychology and politics

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2.4 Assessing your activism orientation

Once you have completed all 35 items on the AOS scale, follow the instructions below to get your AOS score, and find out what this tells you about your activism orientation in relation to others.

Activity 3 Assessing your activism orientation

1. Sum your answers to all the questions. This should give you a number somewhere between 0 and 105. What does this number mean?


The higher this number is, the higher your activism orientation is. This tells you something about your propensity to engage in activism overall. At the time of Corning and Myers’ (2002) report, the mean activism orientation, based on US American respondents, was 37.81. Is your activism orientation higher or lower than this average?

2. In addition to the measure of activism orientation, the AOS has two subscales: the ‘conventional activism subscale’ and the ‘high-risk activism’ subscale.

To get your high-risk activism score, sum your answers to items 5, 14, 16, 17, 21, 28, 35. This should give you a number between 0 and 21.

To get your conventional activism score, subtract your high-risk activism score from your answer to Question 1. This should give you a number between 0 and 84.

What do these numbers mean?


According to Corning and Myers at the time of their report (2002), using a US American sample of respondents, the mean for the high-risk subscale was 2.92. This reflects the fact that not many people have an orientation towards high-risk activist behaviours. Was yours higher or lower than this? The mean for conventional activism in the same study was found to be 34.89. Was yours higher or lower than this? What does this tell you about your own propensity to engage in more conventional forms of activism?