Scales measuring people's perception of themselves as origins and pawns

Mary T. Westbrook, Linda L. Viney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Scales measuring people's perception of themselves as origins (determining their own behavior) or pawns (their behavior being determined by forces beyond their control) were devised using content analysis of verbalizations. Scoring categories were based on the work of Heider (1955). Reliability was satisfactory. Normative data were obtained from 528 people, each experiencing one of nine life situations. Pawn and origin perception differed across situations and these differences were correlated with independent ratings of how people would perceive the situations. Pawn perception was more stable over time than origin perception but both varied over time. Origin scores were relatively independent of measures of negative affect. Pawn scores were associated with hostility directed inward, ambivalent hostility and total anxiety. Associations were found with some forms of coping behavior and people's reactions to a relative's serious or less serious illness. Origin and pawn scores were not negatively correlated, indicating the inappropriateness of regarding them as opposite ends of a single dimension of causal perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes


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