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SPECIAL REPORTS

261

THE

MEASUREMENT

OF INTERPERSONAL

ATTRACTION

jAMES

C. McCROSKEY and THOMAS A. McCAI:-':

F OR

at

theorists

least

and

the

past

two

researchers

decades,

in

inter-

personal communication have centered

much of their attention on interpersonal attraction. Not only has interpersonal attraction been found to be a facilitator of interpersonal communication across a

wide range of cultures, 1 but

interpersonal communication existS for

the

personal attraction.2

search literatUre on interpersonal com-

munication suggests two very important

conclusions:

attracted to one another, the more they

also much

inter-

of the

re-

people

are

primary

purpose

( 1)

The

of enhancing

A review

more

will communicate

with

each

other;

and

(2)

The

more

we

are

attracted

to

an-

other

person,

the

more

influence

that

person

has

on

us

in interpersonal

com-

munica tion. 3 Two previous researchers have directed their attention specifically to assessing and measuring the dimensionality of in- terpersonal attraction. Triandis used two sets of questionnaire items related to var- ious aspects of interpersonal attraction and factor analyzed the responses. He reported a five factor solution.4 The first factor, labeled "Toward social acceptance

Mr. McCroskey is Professor and ChairmlUJ of the Department of Speech Communication at

West

Virginia

University.

Mr.

McCain

is As.

sistant

Professor

of

Communication

at

Ohio

State University.

1 E. M. Rogers and F. Shoemaker,

Informations

Communi-

(New York: The Free

M. L.

cation

Press,

2j.

of

C. McCroskey, C. E. Larson, and

Knapp, An Introduction

munication

Hall,

(Englewood

1971), Chap. 3.

to Interpersonal

Cliffs, N.J.:

Com.

Prentice.

.

3See E. Berscheid and E. H. Walster, Inter-

(Reading,

personal

Attraction

Mass.: Addison-

Weslev,

1969).

4 H.

C.

Triandis,

"Exploratory

Factor

An.

alysis

of

the

Behavioral

Component

of

Social

AttitUdes,"

Journal

of

Abnormal

and

Social

Psycholog;y, 68 (1961), 420.430.

 

SPEECH

MONOGRAPHS,

Vol.

41, Aug.

1974

with subordination versus rejection with

superordination," appears to represent a task property of interpersonal attraction. The second factor repre:iented a socio- emotional category of interpersonal at-

traction.

which Triandis

The

other

three

dimensions

reported were factors

with single scales loading on them and are of questionable reliability. Although there are some serious limitations to' his

factor analytic techniques, Triandis' re- sults suggest the multi.dimensionality of the interpersonal attraction construct. The second stUdy which has attempted to measure dimensions of interpersonal

attraction

was

reported

by

Kiesler

and

Goldberg. I! . Following

these researchers generated items to rep- . resent task and socio-emotional proper- ties of interpersonal attraction, employ- ing a variety of measuring devices. They factor analyzed the results and used the sum of the factor scores for the extracted

Triandes'

lead,

factors

as

dependent

measures

in

an

experimental

design.

We

need

be

con-

cerned

here

only

with

their

factor

an-

alysis results. They extracted and rotated only the two factors with the highest eigenvalues, disregarding other possible solutions. Factor One represented "a socio-emotional category of interpersonal attraction closely related to what one might ordinarily call 'liking'."6 Factor

Two

was

"a

task

category

of interper-

sonal attraction,

related

to

what

one

might ordinarily call 'respect'.''7

I!C. A. Kiesler and G. N. Goldberg, "Mul.

tidimensional Approach to the Experimental Study of Interpersonal Attraction: Effect of a Blunder on the Attractiveness of a Competent

705. Other,"

Psychological Reports, 22 (1968), 693.

6 Kiesler and Goldberg, 700.

TKiesler and Goldberg, 700.

262

SPEECH

MONOGRAPHS

(actor

analytic results is difficult since several

The

interpretation

of

these

items

load strongly

on both

factors,

and

the authors

failed to examine other

solu-

the results clearly

indicate the multidimensionality of the interpersonal attraction construct.

Walter, Aronsen, Abrams, and Rott- man conducted an extensive field experi- ment to test the hypothesis that one's romantic aspirations are influenced by aspirations in other areas.S In this study three properties of interpersonal attrac- tion were measured using single scales. They included: physical attractiveness, per~{)l1al auractiveuess, and how consid- erate subjects were. The results showed that physical attractiveness was by far the most important determinant of how

much a date

tions. Nonetheless,

would be liked by a partner.

from these studies

It

seems clear

that

what we refer to as interpersonal attrac- tion is not a unidimensional construct.

Rather

least three dimensions:

liking dimension,

it

seems

to

2)

be

a

composed

1)

a

task

of

at

or

social

or

respect

dimension, and 3) a physical or appear- ance dimension. For the most part, pre- vious research on interpersonal attrac- tion has not taken this multidimension-

ality

into

account

in

the

measuring

in-

struments

employed.

Procedures

Ten

Likert-type

items

were generated

dimen-

sions of interpersonal attraction. Five were positively worded and five negative- ly worded for task, social, and physical

for

each

of

the

three

presumed

properties

point

strongly agree-strongly disagree response

field.

of attraction.

items

The

instrument

The

30

offered a seven

were

randomly

or-

dered.

Subjects

were 215 undergraduate

students

enrolled

in nine sections

of in-

troductory

communication

courses

at

Illinois

State

University.

 

The

subjects

were

instructed

to com-

plete

the

instrument

for

"a

classmate

with

whom

you

are

acquainted."

Sub-

jects

wrote

the

first name of a classmate

on

the

top

of

the

questionnaire.

Each

subject

completed

the instrument

for one

acquaintance.

 

Statistical

Analysis

 

The

data

were first submitted

to prin-

ciple components factor analysis with varimax rotation. The criteria for inter-

pretation of the results included the fol- lowing: (a) An eigenvalue of 1.0 was set for termination of factor extraction; (b) For an item to be considered loaded on

required

a factor

it

was

to

have

a

pri-

 

mary

loading

of at least

.60 on that

fac-

METHOD

tor

and

to

have

no

secondary

loading

Measurement Approach

Likert-type

scales were selected

as the

most appropriate measurement device for our purposes. They yield results amen- able to parametric statistical analysis, are comparatively easier to construct and

administer than most other measures, and have been demonstrated to be highly reliable when properly developed.!!

8 E.

Walster,

V. Aronson.

D.

Abrahams,

and

L.

Rottman.

"Importance

of

Physical

AUrac-

tivenes,

in

Datin~

Behavior,"

Journal

of

ePT-

sona/it;- and Social Prych%g;y,

!! A.

5 (1966), 508-516.

A.ttitude

L. Edwards. Techniques of

above AD; (c)

considered

In order for a factor

to be

to

meaningful

it was required

have

at least

three

items loaded on it.

In

order

to

determine'

the

probable

stability of the obtained factor structure in the absence of items not meeting cri- terion (b) above, a supplementary prin- ciple components analysis (with varimax

rotation)

was

conducted

including

only

the

iterns meeting

criterion

(b).

The

scales

composed

of

the

items

loaded

on

the

obtained

factors

were

Scale

tury-Crofts. 1957).

Construction

(New York:

Appleton-Cen-

SPECIAL

tested for internal reliability by means of the Hoyt procedure based on analysis of variance. to

The

initial

RESULTS

factor

analysis

produced

10C.

Hoyt,

"Test

Reliability

Estimated

by

Analvsis 153-160. of Variance." Psychometrika,

6 (1941),

REPORTS

263

the rotated three-factor solution reported in Table 1. This solution accounted for 49% of the total variance. Factor 1 was labeled "social attraction" and included items which had been generated for this property of interpersonal attraction. The highest loaded item, "1 think he (she) could be a friend of mine" represents this dimension well. The social attraction

ROTATED FACTOR :\[ATRIX

TABLE

I

FOR INTERPERSONAL .-\TTRACTION SCALES

Social

Attraction

-

Physical

Attraction

-

. -

Social Attraction

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

think he (she) could be a friend of mine

I

I

him

It would be difficult to meet and him (her) We could never establish a personal ship with each other

He (she) just wouldn't

friends

would

(her)

like to

have a

friendly

chat

with

talk with

friend-

fit into

my circle of

He (she would be pleasant to be

I

He (she) is personallyoffensiveto me don't care if I ever get to meet him (her)

I

I sometimes wish I were more like him (her)

with

feel I know him (her) personally

Physical Attraction

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

19.

20.

I think he (she) is quite handsome (pretty) He (she) is very sexy looking

I

I

He (she) is somewhat ugly He (she) wears neat clothes The clothes he (she) wears are not becoming He (she) is not very good looking She (he) is well groomed He (she) is repulsive to

find him (her) very attractive phnically

don't like the way he (she)looks .

me

Task Attraction

21.

22.

23.

24.

25.

26.

27.

28.

29.

30.

couldn't get anything accomplished with him (her)

I

He (she) is a tyPical goof-off when assigned

a

I

to get

the job done If I wanted to get thinKSdone I could prob-

ably depend on him (her)

be

I

He (she) would be a

job

to do

have confidence in his (her) ability

think

studying

have the

poor problem solver

him

(her)

(she) is

a

I

to work

would

with

impossible

You could count on him (her) getting a job

done

I

worker

If we put our heads together

could come up with some good ideas

He (she) would be fun

Eigenvalue after rotation

with acceptable factor loadings

.Items

feeling he

very. slow

think

with

we

.76-

.70.

-.64-

-.60-

-.60.

.65

.51

-.50

-.49

.27

.16

.14

.07

-.29

-.19

.25

-.23

-.11

.33

-.59

-.20

.13

.31

.29

-.16

-.07

.19

-.11

.42

.56

5.00

-.20

-.31

-.07

.17

.12

-.44

-.16

.26

.23

-.42

-.85-

-.83.

-.78.

.73.

.65.

-.64.

.63.

.61-

-.53

.32

.08

.28

-.15

-.23

.15

-.07

-.15

.17

-.18

-.18

5.54

Task

Attraction

-.29

-.17

-.01

.27

.08

-.15

-.06

.24

.33

-.20

-.06

.01

-.06

.22

.14

-.22

.25

.22

-.26

.31

.66-

.66-

-.64-

-.63-

.62-

.58

-.57

.50

-.49

-.15

4.06

264

Sp"££CH MONOGRAPHS

factor

accounted

for 17% of the variance

after

rotation.

Factor

II

is labeled

"physical

attrac-

tion," again representing items intended to tap this property of interpersonal at- traction. "1 think he (she) i5 quite hand-

some (pretty)"

was the item most highly

loaded

on

this

factor.

The

factor

ac-

counted

for

18%

of

the

total

variance

after

rotation.

 

Factor

III

was

labeled

"task

attrac-

tion"

and accounted

for 14% of the vari-

ance after

rotation.

"1 couldn't get any-

thing acomplished with him (her)" was

the item with the highest factor loading on this dimension.

internal

loaded on

mate

The

obtained

reliability

highly

esti-.

for the fiye items

the

For

traction

social

the

attraction

items

eight

dimension

dimension

on

the

the est!mate

was

physical

.75.

at-

was .80,

. and

for the

five items on the task

at-

traction

dimension

.86.

four

em- ployed these scales. Quiggens included four items from each dimension in his re- search on interpersonal attraction in a

studies

Subsequent

have

to

been

the

initial

study,

which

conducted

small

group

setting.ll

Factor

analysis

of

his

data

indicated

the

presence

of

the

same

three

dimensions

of

response

ob-

11J.

G. Quiggens, "The

Communication

Effects of High

on

Apprehension

and

Low

Small

Group Member's Credibility, Attraction and Interaction," M.s. Thesis, IlIinois State Uni- versity, 1972.

ROTATEDFACJ'OR~r.-\TRIXFOR 18

:\ =215

Sorial Attraction

TABLE 2

BEST-Frr INTERPERSONALATmAC110N SCALES

Physical

Attraction

Social

Attraction

Task

Attraction

I.

1 think he (she) could be a friend of mine

2.

It would be difficult to meet and him (her)

talk with

3.

friends He (she) just wouldn't

fit into

my circle of

4.

We could neyer establish a personal friend- ship with each other

5.

him I would (her) like

to have

a

friendly chat with

Physical Attraction

 

6.

I think

He (she) is very sexy looking

he (she) is quite

handsome (pretty)

7.

8.

9.

I find him (her) very attractive

I don't

physically

like the way he (she) looks

10,

He (she) is somewhat

ugly

12. I I.

13. The clothes he (she) wears are not becoming

Ta.sk

14.

He (she) is not very good looking

He (she) wears neat

clothes

J.ttraction

to do

He (she) is a tyPical goof-off when assigned

a job

15.

I

the have job confidence done in his (her) abiilty

to get

16.

If I wanted to get things done I could prob- ably depend on him (her)

Ii.

I couldn't

get

anything

accomplished with

him (her)

18.

He (she) wouldn't

be a poor problem solver

Eigenvalue after rotation Per cent of total variance accounted for

-.23

-.04

.14

.22

-.36

-.85- -.87-

-.79-

.75-

.66-

.64-

.61-

.60-

.23

-.13

-.21

.07-

.15

4.64

26

.Items with acceptable faaor loadings

-.73-

.6-eI

.6--I

.65-

-.64-

-.10

-.09

.04

.25

.15

.12

-.28

.25

-.19

-.25

-.26

.24

.11

2.76

15

.33

.00

-.07

-.25

.19

.09

.03

.10

-.25

-.14

-.19

.25

-.26

-.73-

.70-

.70.

-.66e

-.65.

2.85

16

SPECl.A.LREPORTS

265

served

in our

study,

although one social

attraction

item

(He/she

just

fit into

my

circle of friends)

wouldn't had a sec-

ondary

loading

of .49 on the physical

at-

traction

dimension.

 

McCain and Repensky included the original 30 items in their research on the

effect of camera

personal attraction.12 Factor analysis of their data indicated the presence of the same three dimensions of response as be-

shots on mediated

inter-

1::T. A. McCain and G. R. Repensky, ''The Effect of Camera Shot on Interpersonal Attrac- tion for Comedy Performers," Paper presented at 58th Annual Convention of the Speech Com- munication Association, Chicago, illinois, 1972.

fore, although the items which defined the dimensions varied slightly from the

be-

cause of the difference in stimulus object.

Wakschlag used 22 of the original 30 items, those with. satisfactory loadings in either our original study or the Mc- Cain and Repensky study, in a study of interpersonal attraction of televised stu- dent newscasters.13Factor analysis indi- cated the presence of the same three di- mensions of response with loadings es-

previous

results,

as was expected,

13 J. Wakshlag, "The

Effect of Camera AnKle

and Image Size on Source Credibility and In' terpersonal Attraction," M.s. Thesis, illinois State University, 1973.

TABLE 3

FAcrOR.LoADINGSANDRELIAUILITYFOR.INTERPERSONALATrRAcrlON MEASURE

(McCROSKEY'WEINERSTUDy)"8

Item

Number88

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

Eigenvalue

Variance

Internal of 5 Best Reliability Items

-satisfactory

Physical

Orthogonal

Oblique

.25

-.06

-.17

-.16

.27

.1:1-8

.

8-8

I

.838

-.678

-.758

-.09

.08

.05

-.05

-.04

3.40

23

.11

.10

-.03

-.01

.17

.858

.908

.868

-.658

-.7S8

-.05

.03

-.03

.05

.05

3.36

22

.86

loading

. Factor

Task

Orthogonal

-.22

.10

.08

.20

-.22

-.10

-.02

.00

.13

.10

.688

-.778

-.858

.778

.66-

3.00

20

.81

Oblique

-.08

-.05

-.07

.06

-.11

-.02

.05

.07

.05

.05

.718

-.808

-.878

.768

.65-

2.94

20

Orthogonal

-.718

.818

.7-8

.778

-.638

-.22

-.16

-.12

.29

.10

.02

-.07

-.17

.28

.25

3.07

20

Social

Oblique

-.708

.86-

.788

.788

-.50

-.05

.00

.03

.17

-.06

-.12

.08

-.02

.16

.14

2.80

19

.84

_8

1.

2.

I think he (she) could be a mend of mine.

It would be difficult to meet and talk with him (her).

3.

4.

He (she) just wouldn't

We could never establish a personal mendship

fit into my circle of mends.

with each other.

5.

I would like to have a friendly chat with him (her).

6.

I think

he (she) is quite handsome (pretty).

7.

He (she) is very sexy looking.

8.

I find him (her) very attractive physically.

9.

I

don't

like the way he (she) .looks.

10.

He (she) is somewhat ugly.

11.

He (she) is a typical goof-of( when assigned a job to do.

12.

I have confidence in his (her) ability to get the job done.

13.

If I wanted to get things done, I could probably depend on him (her).

14.

I couldn't get :mvthing accomplished with him (her).

15.

He (she) would be a poor problem solver.

.88

N =

424

266

SPEECH

MONOGRAPHS

sentially

the

initial

the

same

study.

as those

observed

in

The final study indicating replication

of our initial findings was conducted by

McCroskey

items on each dimension

study were included. Their data were

factor

best

and

Weiner. a

with

The

5

from our initial

both

orthogonal

analyzed

and oblique rotations.

.

The

results

from

both

analyses

(see

Table

3)

indicated

the presence of three

dimensions.

criteria in the orthogonal analysis, and

all but

All items met our original

analysis.

one did so in the oblique

Internal

dimensions in the initial

reliability

eStimates for the three

to those

were also comparable

study

(see Table

3).

14.T. c.

McCro~key and A. N. Weiner,

and

Interpersonal

''The

Attrac-

Behavior on Source Cred-

ibility,

Un-

published paper. Department of Speech Com- munication, West Virginia University. 19i3.

tion

Effect of Interaction

in

Homophily,

Small

Group

Communication,"

DISCUSSION

and obvious con-

inter-

does appear to be a

the

scales presented here appear to tap three dimensions of interpersonal attraction-a social or personal liking property; a physical dimension based on dress and physical features; and a task-orientation dimension related to how easy or worth- while working with someone would be. On the basis of the results obtained. in this investigation we offer an instrument composed of the 15 items reported in Table 3 for consideration by future re- searchers concerned with interpersonal attraction. Our data suggest that this instrument is capable of reliably measur- ing physical, social, and task attraction.

The most important

clusion from this personal attraction

study

is

that

multidimensional construct. Further,