OVERVIEW OF THE ICAWS, OCS, QWI, AND PSI
(See Spector and Jex, 1998 for additional details.)
Interpersonal Conflict at Work Scale, ICAWS. Interpersonal conflict in the workplace has been shown to be one of the most frequently reported job stressors (e.g., Keenan & Newton, 1985). The ICAWS is a four item, summated rating scale designed to assess this construct. It's items ask about how well the respondent gets along with others at work, specifically getting into arguments with others and how often others act nasty to the respondent. Five response choices are given, ranging from less than once per month or never, coded 1, to several times per day, coded 5. High scores represent frequent conflicts with others, with a possible range from 4 to 20. Internal consistency reliability (coefficient alpha) was reported by Spector and Jex (1998) to average .74 acro ss 13 studies.
Organizational Constraints Scale, OCS. Organizational constraints are situations or things that interfere with task performance at work. The OCS was based on the work of Peters and O'Connor (1980), who listed 11 areas of constraints, e.g., faulty equipment, or incomplete information. One item assesses each of the 11 constraint areas, and all items are summed into a total score. Respondents are asked to indicate how often it is difficult or impossible to do his or her job because of each item. Re sponse choices range from less than once per month or never, coded 1, to several times per day, coded 5. High scores represent high levels of constraints, with a possible range of scores from 11 to 55.
Although the OCS yields a total score, the individual items are not considered parallel forms of the same underlying construct. Rather we view this scale as a causal indicator scale (Bollen & Lennox, 1991), rather than the traditional effect indicator scale. With the latter, items are said to be replicates of one another, and in structural equation modeling terms, responses are the effects of the underlying construct. A causal indicator scale consists of items which are not manifestations of the sa me underlying construct, but which combined constitute the construct, i.e., the items cause the construct. Thus coefficient alpha is not an appropriate index of reliability for such scales. For example, we would not say that having poor equipment is equiv alent to having inadequate training. However, having both represents a higher level of constraints than only having one. (We discuss this at further length in Spector & Jex, 1998).
Quantitative Workload Inventory, QWI. The QWI is a 5 item scale designed to assess the amount or quantity of work in a job, as opposed to qualitative workload which is the difficulty of the work. As described in more detail in Spector and Jex (1998), there have been several versions of the scale used, ranging from 5 to 8 items. The final scale has 5 items, and all results with longer versions were adjusted to a scale length of 5 for the norms. Respondents are asked to indicate how often each statement occurs, with five response choices, ranging from less than once per month or never, coded 1, to several times per day, coded 5. High scores represent a high level of workload, with a possible range from 5 to 25. Spector and Jex (1998) reported an average internal consistency (coefficient alpha) of .82 across 15 studies.
Physical Symptoms Inventory, PSI. The PSI assesses physical, somatic health symptoms thought by stress researchers to be associated with psychological distress. Each is a condition/state about which a person would likely be aware, e.g., headache. The scale has evolved over time. The original contains 18 items. (See Spector & Jex, 1998 about additional omitted items). Respondents are asked to indicate for each symptom if they didn't have it, had it, or saw a doctor for it in the past 30 days. Three scores are computed, the number of symptoms they had (have symptoms), the number for which they saw a doctor (doctor symptoms), and sum of both (total). Possible scores range from 0 to 18. More recently we have shortened the scale to 12 items, and changed the response choices to frequency ranging from "never" to "every day". We eliminated 5 items that were rarely endorsed, and one item (backache) because it overlapped with musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). Copies of the original 18-item and the newer 12-item versions are on this website. As with the OCS, this is a causal indicator scale, for which coefficient alpha is irrelevan t.
Bollen, K., & Lennox, R. (1991). Conventional wisdom on measurement: A structural equation perspective. Psychological Bulletin, 110, 305-314.
Keenan, A., & Newton, T. J. (1985). Stressful events, stressors, and psychological strains in young professional engineers. Journal of Occupational Behavior, 6, 151-156.
Peters, L. H., & O'Connor, E. J. (1980). Situational constraints and work outcomes: the influences of a frequently overlooked construct. Academy of Management Review, 5, 391-397.
Spector, P. E., & Jex, S. M. (1998). Development of Four Self-Report Measures of Job Stressors and Strain: Interpersonal Conflict at Work Scale, Organizational Constraints Scale, Quantitative Workload Inventory, and Physical Symptoms Inventory. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 3, 356-367.
Copyright Paul E. Spector, All rights reserved, January 24, 2011.