Skip to Main Content

Coastal Scholars Showcase 2021: Development of a Gender-Neutral Honor Beliefs Scale


Poster Details

Presenters: Dr. Brian Pope, Emily Olson*, Keista Elder*, & Michael Pendarvis*

Title: Professor of Psychology; Psychology students 

Department: Social Sciences



In a culture of honor (Nisbett & Cohen, 1997), males are socialized to cultivate reputations for strength and violent retaliation as a defense against predation. They explain that “potential predators will go elsewhere rather than risk dealing with a man who knows how to defend himself and his possessions and who appears to be not afraid to die” (p. xv). Saucier et al. (2016) were the first to develop a measure of masculine honor beliefs based on Nisbett and Cohen’s culture of honor construct. Their measure contains subscales such as masculine courage and pride in manhood and virtually all items refer to how a man responds to threat or insult. Our approach is different. 

We extracted honor-related themes (e.g. courage vs. cowardice; response to insult) from Nisbett and Cohen’s (1996) book and formulated survey items addressing these themes using gender-neutral language. For the courage vs. cowardice theme, we developed the item “It is more honorable to engage in a fight than to retreat from one.” and for the response-to-insult theme we developed the item “People who insult my lifestyle are asking for trouble.” Each item represents an action that respondents indicated agreement/disagreement with on a six-point Likert scale. 

The instrument was administered to male and female respondents and gender differences on responses were compared.

Factor analysis was used to isolate eight items from a larger set of 35 items concerning Honor Beliefs and Attitudes (HBA). The HBA variable was then correlated with the Big Five personality factors and the five moral foundations. Small but significant correlations were found for extraversion (r = .16, p = .02), agreeableness (r = -.23, p = .001), and the moral foundations of fairness (r = -.19, p = .006), loyalty (r = -.16, p = .006), and purity (r = -.15, p = .03). Male participants (M = 3.546) scored significantly higher than females (M = 2.971) on the HBA scale, t(210) = 4.409, p < .001.

(* students)


 Dr. Brian Pope