Sociopolitical Control Scale

The 17-item Sociopolitical Control Scale (SPCS) is a self-report measure designed to assess specific aspects of sociopolitical control via two sub-scales: ‘Leadership Competence,’ which measures one’s confidence in leadership skills, and ‘Policy Control,’ which measures one’s sense of competence for influencing policy decisions. Sociopolitical control refers to beliefs about one’s capabilities and efficacy in social and political systems. Examples of sociopolitical control include beliefs that one can influence policy decisions, lead a group of people or organize one’s neighbors.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


The following statements concern attitudes and feelings you might have about yourself and a variety of situations. Please indicate how strongly or disagree with each of the statements below using the following rating scale:

 1. I would prefer to be leader than a follower
2. Sometimes politics and government can seem so complicated that a person like me can’t really understand what’s going on.*
3. I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the important political issues which confront our society
4. Other people usually follow my ideas.
5. It hardly makes any difference who I vote for because whoever gets elected does whatever he wants to do anyway.*
6. I like to wait and see if someone else is going to solve a problem so that I don’t have to be bothered by it.*
7. So many other people are active in local issues and organizations that it doesn’t matter much to me whether I participate or not.*
8. I would rather not try something I’m not good at.*
9. A good many local elections aren’t important enough to bother with.*
10. I am often a leader in groups.
11. I enjoy political participation because I want to have as much say in running government as possible.
12. I would rather someone else took over the leadership role when I’m involved in a group project.*
13. I can usually organize people to get things done.
14. People like me are generally well qualified to participate in the political activity and decision making in our country.
15. I find it very hard to talk in front of a group.*
16. There are plenty of ways for people like me to have a say in what our government does.
17. Most public officials wouldn’t listen to me no matter what I did.*

*Items are reverse scored

Response Options:
6-point Likert scale
Strongly disagree - 1
Strongly agree - 6

Scoring Procedures

Items 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13 and 15 make up the Political Competence subscale. Items 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16 and 17 make up the Policy Control subscale. Further scoring details not available.

Original Citation

Zimmerman, M. A., & Zahniser, J. H. (1991). Refinements of Sphere-Specific Measures of Perceived Control: Development of a Sociopolitical Control Scale. Journal of Community Psychology, 19(2), 189-204.<189::AID-JCOP2290190210>3.0.CO;2-6

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