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.

High Psychometric Score


  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



United States of America




Scoring Procedures:

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


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

Pyschometric Score:


 Qualitative Research

 Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

 Field Expert Input

 Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








 Criterion (gold-standard)


Psychometric Scoring

Total Score: 6.00/9 Points (HIGH) 

Citation Frequency




For more details, see Scoring Methodology

You have successfully registered

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

EMERGE will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.