Eike Mark Rinke
A general survey measure of the need for closure

69th Annual Conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Anaheim, CA, May 15th to May 18th, 2014

A 5-item short form of the Need for Closure Scale (NFCS-5) for use in general population surveys is proposed. Recently, interest in the motivational and cognitive underpinnings of political information processing, attitudes, and behavior has resurged (e.g., Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, & Sulloway, 2003), especially interest in the political consequences of dispositional need for cognitive closure (e.g., Chirumbolo, Areni, & Sensales, 2004). The Need for Closure scale (NFCS) measures an individual’s motivation to “seize and freeze”on beliefs that offer simplicity, certainty, and clarity and has been well-validated (Webster & Kruglanski, 1994). However, the original 41-item scale is obviously too lengthy for use in general population surveys, and the same is true for its validated shorter versions. A previous attempt to validate an adapted 5-item version of the NFCS in an ANES pilot study was not successful (Federico, Jost, Pierro, & Kruglanski, 2007). The NFCS-5 proposed here is adapted from prior validation analyses by Roets & Van Hiel (2011) and was validated in three studies. Study 1, based on an online survey of a US-American student sample (N = 382), and Study 2, based on an online survey of a US-American general population sample (N = 1,023), demonstrated adequate internal consistency (α ≥ .72) and the expected factorial structure of the NFCS-5; its consistency with a validated 15-item NFCS; and its predicted association with a relevant personality measure (need for cognition). Study 3, based on a online-surveyed general population sample from the German Longitudinal Election Studies (GLES; N = 1,049), replicated reliability (α = .71) and factorial structure of the NFCS-5; and demonstrated its criterion validity in predicting measures of political conservatism and group-centrism. The NFCS-5 was economic with administration times ranging from 37 to 44 seconds across Studies 1-3.