Sunday, 4 March 2012

A Scale to Measure Independent and Interdependent Problem-Solving

My colleagues and I have recently developed a general purpose measure of dispositional preferences for independent and interdependent problem-solving called the Independent-Interdependent Problem-Solving Scale (IIPSS; Rubin, Watt, & Ramelli, in press). The scale distinguishes between independent problem-solvers, who prefer to work on their own when solving problems, and interdependent problem-solvers, who prefer to consult with other people.

Version 2 of the IIPSS is displayed below. Compared to Version 1, this second version is slightly shorter and has more concise instructions. Participants respond to each item using a 7-point Likert-type response scale anchored Strongly Agree and Strongly Disagree.

Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with each of the following items.
1. When faced with a difficult personal problem, it is better to decide yourself rather than to follow the advice of others.
2. I value other people’s help and advice when making important decisions.
3. In general, I do not like to ask other people to help me to solve problems.
4. I prefer to make decisions on my own, rather than with other people.
5. I like to get advice from my friends and family when deciding how to solve my personal problems.
6. I prefer to consult with others before making important decisions.
7. I usually find other people’s advice to be the most helpful source of information for solving my problems.
8. I would rather struggle through a personal problem by myself than discuss it with a friend.
9. I do not like to depend on other people to help me to solve my problems.
10. I usually prefer to ask other people for help rather than to try to solve problems on my own.

Researchers should reverse code participants’ responses to either the independent problem-solving items (items 1, 3, 4, 8, & 9) or the interdependent problem-solving items (items 2, 5, 6, 7, 10)  and then compute the average score of all 10 items. (The decision about which set of items to reverse code depends on whether researchers would like to represent independent problem-solving with high scores and interdependent problem-solving with low scores or vice versa.)

Reliability and Validity
Rubin et al. (in press) reported evidence of the reliability and validity of Version 1 of the IIPSS. The scale has good reliability, with a single factor structure (eigenvalue = 3.96) and good internal consistency (αs = .77 & .80). The scale also has good convergent validity. It has small-to-medium sized correlations with Cross et al.’s (2000) Relational-Interdependent Self-Construal scale and Goldberg et al.’s (2006) Extraversion scale. Finally, the scale has good predictive validity. It predicted participants’ self-reported likelihood that they would (a) search the internet to find a solution to a problem at university (i.e., independent problem-solving) and (b) ask another student to help them with a university problem (i.e., interdependent problem-solving).

The scale was first reported in a paper that discussed the social integration of migrants. Please refer to the following paper for more information:
Rubin, M., Watt, S., & Ramelli, M. (2012). Immigrants’ social integration as a function of approach–avoidance orientation and problem-solving style International Journal of Intercultural Relations DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.12.009