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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - conceptualization and measurement.docx

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David Nussbaum

Chapter 4: Conceptualization and Measurement Measuring Mental Health and Mental Illness Developing and Defining Constructs Theoretical Constructs Construct – an abstraction or concept that is specified in theory to describe, explain, and predict wide range of empirical findings. NOT directly observable but has indicators, which are cast as variables that can be measured by collecting data. Operational Definitions of Constructs Constructs must be translated into Operational Definitions – specifies variables  Eg. Construct of anxiety is operationalized into dependent variables  BUT operational definition identifies the independent variables that are expected to produce the construct Bushman & Baumeister: investigated conditions that produce the construct of interpersonal violence.  The operational form was when participants were randomly assigned to the study condition of their essays receiving the worst grades, which is the independent variable. The dependent variable was the decibel level of noise that the participants delivered to their opponent, or their marker. They also tested for narcissism, which showed higher decibels.  Independent variable  intervening variable  dependent variable  Staged Manipulation – hope to mimic these lab conditions that lead to real world situation  Ecological Validity – the extent to which a study or experiment approximated the actual real- life phenomenon Building Constructs Keyes: Positive Psychology: scientific study of ordinary human strengths and virtues; learn about human thriving, flourishing, optimism, resilience, joy and capabilities  Study attitudes, actions, and feeling  Mental Health – enduring sense of well-being and happiness that person regularly experiences in life  DSM’s 2 component in diagnosing mental disorder: presence of symptoms, evidence that symptoms interfere with aspects of everyday functioning  Keyes’ 4 different forms of mental illness: major depressive episode, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, alcohol dependence during the past 12 months Validity of constructs depend on: the extent to which these different measured variables of the same construct correlate and the extent to which these different variables distinguish the construct of mental health from the construct of mental illness Measurement of Psychological Constructs Measurement – assignment of numerals to objects or events according to some objective rule  Objects or events are variables which are indicators to measure a given construct  Eg. Construct of anxiety measured by GSR, self-report, and observational Advantages of Multiple Methods Measurement operations should be consistent with the research question. Keyes: used 2 methods of measurement; self-report and interview.  He classified participants into 5 different groups: 1. Mental illness and languishing (deteriorating, suffering) 2. Pure mental illness 3. Pure languishing 4. Moderately mentally healthy 5. Completely mentally healthy and flourishing  His classification meant that mental illness was not just the absence of mental health but having languishing, the least desirable, was more dysfunctional than pure mental illness Levels of Measurement Objective Rule – the way numbers are used to represent a particular scale of measurement A variable can have 4 scales of measurement:  Nominal Level of Measurement – (categorical or qualitative) variables whose values has no mathematical interpretation; they vary in kind or quality but not in amount o Eg. DSM mental illness categories o The attributes we categorize must be either:  Mutually Exclusive – every case can have only one attribute  Exhaustive – every case can be classified into one of the categories  BOTH means that every case corresponds to one and only one attribute o Dichotomies – variables having only 2 values Eg. gender  Ordinal Level of Measurement – numbers indicating a variable’s values specify only the order of the cases, permitting “greater then” and “less than” distinctions. o Likert Scale – 1=none 2=a little 3=some 4=most 5=all o Eg. Olympic judges, grades, military rank, SES o Variables must be mutually exclusive and exhaustive. o Limitation: cannot assume respondents perceive differences between each scale point as Equidistant – magnitude of distance between 1-2 same as 4-5  Interval Level of Measurement – all qualities of nominal and ordinal scales; it has categories that are numbered and ranked. o It is Equidistant; distance is known. o NO absolute, fixed, true zero point  means a zero value on the interval scale does not mean absence of the measured variable & no ratios can be made Eg. Fahrenheit o Variables must be mutually exclusive and exhaustive o Eg. tests of personality, intelligence and aptitude  Ratio Level of Measurement – numbers of a variable represent fixed measuring units and an absolute zero point. o Eg. income, weight, kelvin temperature, speed o Parametric Statistics – mathematical procedures that require variables to be measured on a interval or ratio scale; tests whether there is a relationship between IV and DV Psychometric Tests and Measurement Psychometric – study application of psychological tests as objective measures of mind and mental processes  used for “social ordering” with test scores Culture Counts Intelligence Tests: IQ  Intelligence only partially captured in IQ  IQ is linked to educational achievement, a predictor of health and longevity by personality traits such as contentiousness  IQ is a tool to stigmatize racial and ethnic groups of people o 15 point gap between African American and white American groups  all caste-like minorities show a similar gap in IQ between stigmatized & non  the controversy is about the causes of differences and their public implications 
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