Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Impact of gender, perception of being overweight and fat acceptance on personal agency: Establishing additional validity and reliability for the personal agency questionnaire
by Lundquist, Simone, Ph.D., Alliant International University, 2015, 215; 3722307
Abstract (Summary)

The overarching goal of psychoanalytic and narrative therapies is to increase agency; however, few tools assess for agency. The Personal Agency Questionnaire (PAQ) was developed for this purpose and was found to be a valid and reliable instrument (Lundquist, 2012). The primary aims of this study were to (a) replicate past findings by performing correlations between the PAQ and scales measuring constructs thought to be part of agency (RSES for self-esteem; GSE for self-efficacy, and IPC for internal locus of control), (b) increase internal consistency and reliability of the PAQ through performing a factor analysis, and (c) establish additional validity by performing regressions to determine how three additional variables were related to agency: gender, perception of being overweight, and antifat attitudes. Females were expected to score lower than males on the PAQ because of the influence of gender norms on agency. Overweight status has shown a negative relation to agency, self-efficacy, and self-esteem; however, the fat- accepting individuals were expected to have greater agency compared to those who have internalized the culture’s antifat messages. Participants accessed the online survey through postings on Craig’s List and Yahoo discussion groups. Analyses were conducted with 280 participants, a majority of whom were White (65%), female (74%), employed (59%), highly educated (64% had college degree or greater, 33.20% attended some college), and had attended therapy (68%). Factor analysis revealed 4 factors underlying the PAQ (which replaced the previously hypothesized 6 subscales); items of the PAQ were reduced from 42 to 24, increasing reliability among the factors, with α = .78, α = .78, α = .72, α = .73, and the total reliability from α = .62 to α = .90. The new PAQ had stronger correlations than previously with the three scales that established its construct validity. Fat acceptance, age, education and therapy were significantly, positively correlated with agency. When looking at gender alone, or perceptions of being fat alone or in combination with gender, no differences in agency were evident. However when adding the antifat variable to gender and perceptions of being overweight, being female, significantly overweight, with antifat attitudes predicted reduced agency.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ducker, Dalia
Commitee: Livingston, James, Loewy, Michael
School: Alliant International University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Quantitative psychology, Gender studies
Keywords: Antifat attitudes and agency, Impact of cultural discourses on agency, Overweight status, Personal agency questionnaire, Scale development/evaluation
Publication Number: 3722307
ISBN: 9781339043388
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