The measurement of psychological literacy: A first approximation
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Psychological literacy, the ability to apply psychological knowledge to personal, family, occupational, community and societal challenges, is promoted as the primary outcome of an undergraduate education in psychology. As the concept of psychological literacy becomes increasingly adopted as the core business of undergraduate psychology training courses world-wide, there is urgent need for the construct to be accurately measured so that student and institutional level progress can be assessed and monitored. Key to the measurement of psychological literacy is determining the underlying factor-structure of psychological literacy. In this paper we provide a first approximation of the measurement of psychological literacy by identifying and evaluating self-report measures for psychological literacy. Multi-item and single-item self-report measures of each of the proposed nine dimensions of psychological literacy were completed by two samples (N = 218 and N = 381) of undergraduate psychology students at an Australian university. Single and multi-item measures of each dimension were weakly to moderately correlated. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of multi-item measures indicated a higher order three factor solution best represented the construct of psychological literacy. The three factors were reflective processes, generic graduate attributes, and psychology as a helping profession. For the measurement of psychological literacy to progress there is a need to further develop self-report measures and to identify/develop and evaluate objective measures of psychological literacy. Further approximations of the measurement of psychological literacy remain an imperative, given the construct's ties to measuring institutional efficacy in teaching psychology to an undergraduate audience.
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