Alienation Scale

Alienation Scale

Dean, D. G. (1961). Alienation: Its meaning and measurement. American Sociological Review 26:753–58.

Comments: The 24-item AS assesses three aspects of alienation: powerlessness, normlessness, and social isolation. In addition, the AS has served as a model for the development of more recent instruments.

Scale Construction: This scale is based on the five meanings described by Seeman (powerlessness, normlessness, meaninglessness, isolation, and self-estrangement).

Sample: The original stratified sample consisted of 384 men from Columbus, Ohio, in 1955. Additional samples consisted of 135 women from a Protestant liberal arts college in 1960; 121 women from a Catholic women’s college in 1960; 75 women from a Protestant liberal arts college in 1955; and 65 women from a Catholic women’s college.

Reliability: Corrected split-half correlation coefficients for the three scales were: 0.73 normlessness, 0.79 powerless- ness, and 0.84 social isolation. The total reliability was 0.78.

Validity: Content validation was performed through a panel of seven judges. The Adorno F Scale was correlated with the Alienation Scale producing correlation coefficients ranging from 0.26 (alienation and authoritarianism) to 0.37 (powerlessness and authoritarianism).

Scales: There are three subscales. The powerlessness scale contains nine items: 2, 6, 9, 13, 15, 18, 20, 21, and 23; the normlessness scale contains six items: 4, 7, 10, 12, 16, 19; and the social isolation scale contains nine items: 1, 3, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 22, and 24.


Calabrese, R. L., and Fisher, J. E. (1988). The effects of teaching experience on levels of alienation. Journal of Psychology 122:147–53. Dean, D. (1956). Alienation and political apathy. PhD dissertation, Ohio State University.

de Man, A. F. (1990). Repression-sensitization and measures of adjustment. Social Behavior and Personality 18:13–16.

Garza, E. P. (2001). Work-related alienation: A study of pre-kindergarten teachers in Texas. PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Austin.

Traub, E. (2010). The effect of internet usage on social alienation and locus of control. PsyD dissertation, University of the Rockies.

Alienation Scale

  1. 1. Sometimes I feel all alone in the world.
    2. I worry about the future facing today’s children.
    3. I don’t get invited out by friends as often as I’d really like.
    4. The end often justifies the means.

    5. Most people today seldom feel lonely.
    6. Sometimes I have the feeling that other people are using me.
    7. People’s ideas change so much that I wonder if we’ll ever have anything to depend on.
    8. Real friends are as easy as ever to find.
    9. It is frightening to be responsible for the development of a little child.
    10. Everything is relative, and there just aren’t any rules to live by.
    11. One can always find friends if he shows himself friendly.
    12. I often wonder what the meaning of life really is.
    13. There is little or nothing I can do toward preventing a major “shooting” war.
    14. The world in which we live is basically a friendly place.
    15. There are so many decisions that have to be made today that sometimes I could just “blow up.”
    16. The only thing one can be sure of today is that he can be sure of nothing.
    17. There are few dependable ties between people any more.
    18. There is little chance for promotion on the job unless a man gets a break.
    19. With so many religions abroad, one doesn’t really know which to believe.
    20. We’re so regimented today that there’s not much room for choice even in personal matters.
    21. We are just so many cogs in the machinery of life.
    22. People are just naturally friendly and helpful.
    23. The future looks very dismal.
    24. I don’t get to visit friends as often as I’d really like.


Strongly Agree = 4; Agree = 3; Uncertain = 2; Disagree = 1; and Strongly Disagree = 0. The scoring is reversed for items: 5, 8, 11, 14, and 22. Scores range from a low of 0 to a high of 96.