Uncertainty reduction theory argues that certain trait variables influence the process of information gathering. This article examines the validity of scales designed to tap three such trait variables. First- and second-order confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to assess the psychometric adequacy of the Emotional Empathy Scale (Mehrabian & Epstein, 1972), the Self-Consciousness Scales (Fenigstein, Scheier, & Buss, 1975), and the Self-Monitoring Scale (Snyder, 1974). The Emotional Empathy Scale was shown to be construct invalid in that it was multidimensional at both the first- and second-order factor levels. The subscales may be useful, but the composite score is meaningless. The data also showed that the two Self-Consciousness Scales could be reduced to a single second-order factor. This raises some questions about how the scales should be treated, but does not pose any problems for interpreting earlier research. Finally, the Self-Monitoring Scale yielded four primary factors and two second-order factors. Consistent with earlier investigations, this study shows that the scale exhibits very little correspondence to the self-monitoring construct. Its continued use is strongly discouraged. Recommendations for the use and interpretation of research that has employed the scales are offered, and the implications for past and present communication theory are examined.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language