Exercise: Active listening scale

This website is for students following the M.Sc. in Evidence Based Practice at the University of York.

The following is the abstract of a paper:

Interpersonal relationships are widely recognized as a major source of job stress, and a mental health training program that incorporates active listening (AL) has attracted much attention in Japan. However, few methods are available to assess the attitude of AL easily.

To develop a new questionnaire that can measure workers’ person-centered attitude (PCA), which is closely related to AL, we formulated a scale of 47 items that describe basic elements of the PCA and AL. This preliminary scale was administered to 536 workers (426 male and 95 female) at two manufacturing companies. Responses to the scale items were subjected to a principal factor analysis followed by a varimax rotation. A scree test suggested three meaningful factors, whose cumulative contribution was 81.2%. These factors were subsequently labeled as “Listening Attitude”, “Listening Skill”, and “Conversation Opportunity”. Both Cronbach’s alphas and test-retest reliabilities indicated that all three factors were highly reliable.

To examine the validity of the scale, factor scores of lay persons (middle-aged workers) were compared with those of 39 clinical therapists who specialize in psychosomatic medicine. Scores for all three factors were significantly higher for the therapists than for the lay persons. Of the three factors derived from the preliminary scale, the first and second showed remarkable differences between the groups and were retained for their usefulness for evaluating AL. The new scale, the Active Listening Attitude Scale (ALAS), is expected to be a useful instrument for various mental health programs to assess the PCA.

(Source: Mishima N, Kubota S, Nagata S. The development of a questionnaire to assess the attitude of active listening. Journal of Occupational Health 2000; 42: 111-118.)

Questions about this abstract:

  1. What is meant by ‘factor analysis’? What is its function here?
    Check suggested answer.
  2. What is a ‘scree test’ and for what is it used?
    Check suggested answer.
  3. What do the authors mean by ‘cumulative contribution was 81.2%’?
    Check suggested answer.
  4. What process is used to label the factors?
    Check suggested answer.
  5. In what sense can Cronbach’s alpha and test-retest reliability indicate that factors are highly reliable?
    Check suggested answer.

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