Activism Orientation Scale

The Activism Orientation Scale (AOS) is a 35-item scale that assesses activist propensity across social action behaviors, ideological positions, and movement issues. 28 items capture Conventional Activism and 7 items capture High-Risk Activism which include actions such as putting one's own safety at risk or committing an illegal action as a form of protest.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


  1. Display a poster or bumper sticker with a political message?
  2. Invite a friend to attend a meeting of a political organization or event?
  3. Purchase a poster, t-shirt, etc. that endorses a political point of view?
  4. Serve as an officer in a political organization?
  5. Engage in a political activity in which you knew you would be arrested?
  6. Attend an informational meeting of a political group?
  7. Organize a political event (e.g., talk, support group, march)?
  8. Give a lecture or talk about a social or political issue?
  9. Go out of your way to collect information on a social or political issue?
  10. Campaign door-to-door for a political candidate?
  11. Present facts to contest another person’s social or political statement?
  12. Donate money to a political candidate?
  13. Vote in a non-presidential federal, state, or local election?
  14. Engage in a physical confrontation at a political rally?
  15. Send a letter or e-mail expressing a political opinion to the editor of a periodical or television show?
  16. Engage in a political activity in which you feared that some of your possessions would be damaged?
  17. Engage in an illegal act as part of a political protest?
  18. Confront jokes, statements, or innuendoes that opposed a particular group’s cause?
  19. Boycott a product for political reasons?
  20. Distribute information representing a particular social or political group’s cause?
  21. Engage in a political activity in which you suspect there would be a confrontation with the police or possible arrest?
  22. Send a letter or e-mail about a political issue to a public official?
  23. Attend a talk on a particular group’s social or political concerns?
  24. Attend a political organization’s regular planning meeting?
  25. Sign a petition for a political cause?
  26. Encourage a friend to join a political organization?
  27. Try to change a friend’s or acquaintance’s mind about a social or political issue?
  28. Block access to a building or public area with your body?
  29. Donate money to a political organization?
  30. Try to change a relative’s mind about a social or political issue?
  31. Wear a t-shirt or button with a political message?
  32. Keep track of the views of members of Congress regarding an issue important to you?
  33. Participate in discussion groups designed to discuss issues or solutions of a particular social or political group?
  34. Campaign by phone for a political candidate?
  35. Engage in a political activity in which you feared for your personal safety?

Response Options:
Extremely unlikely - 0
Unlikely - 1
Likely - 2
Extremely likely - 3

Scoring Procedures

Total scores summed across items can range from 0 to 105; higher scores indicate a greater willingness to engage in activist behaviors.

Original Citation

Corning, A. F., & Myers, D. J. (2002). Individual Orientation Toward Engagement in Social Action. Political Psychology, 23(4), 703-729.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


Join the EMERGE Community

to get the latest updates on new measures and guidance for survey researchers