Protestant Work Ethic scale


This measure was developed by Mirels and Garrett (1971). It uses 19 items to describe the extent to which a respondent agrees with the Protestant work ethic. The Protestant work ethic includes regard for diligence about business affairs, not being idle, punctual repayment of credit, being frugal in con­ sumption, and not letting money lie idle. The Protestant work ethic typically also has been characterized as including emphasis on occupational suc­ cess, asceticism, and rationality (Furnham, 1990). Mudrack, Mason, and Stepanski (1999) found that the 19 items factored into the three dimensions emphasizing work, asceticism, and anti-leisure.


Coefficient alpha values ranged from .69 to .79 (Cohen, 1995; Furnham, 1990; Mudrack et al., 1999).


The Protestant work ethic correlated positively with organizational and occupational commitment, job and work involvement, and the unacceptability of taking self-benefits from ethically dubious activities at work (Cohen, 1995; Mudrack et al., 1999). The Protestant work ethic correlated negatively with age, education level, a positive view of leisure, and the unacceptability of an organization gaining benefits for ethically dubious activities (Cohen, 1995; Furnham, 1990; Mudrack et al., 1999).


Mirels, H. L., & Garrett, J.B. (1971). The Protestant ethic as a personality variable. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 36, 40-44. Items were talcen from Table 1, p. 41. Copyright© 1971 by the American Psycho­ logical Association. Reprinted with permission.


Responses are obtained using a 7-point Likert-type scale where 1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree.

  1. Most people spend too much time in unprofitable amusement.
  2. Our society would have fewer problems if people had less leisure time.
  3. Money acquired easily, g., through gambling or speculation, is usually spent unwisely.
  4. There are few satisfactions equal to the realization that one has done his [her] best at a job
  5. The most difficult college courses usually turn out to be the most rewarding
  6. Most people who do not succeed in life are just plain lazy
  7. The self-made man is likely to be more ethical than the man born to wealth
  8. I often feel I would be more successful if I sacrificed certain pleasures
  9. People should have more leisure time to spend in relaxation
  10. Any man who is able and willing to work hard has a good chance of succeeding
  11. People who fail at a job have usually not tried hard enough
  12. Life would have very little meaning if we never had to suffer
  13. Hard work offers little guarantee of success
  14. The credit card is a ticket to careless spending
  15. Life would be more meaningful if we had more leisure time
  16. The person who can approach an unpleasant task with enthusiasm is the person who gets ahead
  17. If one works hard enough he is likely to make a good life for himself
  18. I feel uneasy when there is little work for me to do
  19. A distaste for hard work usually reflects a weakness of character

This content is licensed under a CC-BY license. The CC-BY licenses grant rights of use the scales in your studies (the measurement instrument and its documentation), but do not replace copyright. This remains with the copyright holder, and you have to cite us as the source.

Mohammed Looti, PSYCHOLOGICAL SCALES (2023) Protestant Work Ethic scale. Retrieved from DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31575.96163