Carnegie Mellon University

Communal Orientation


Communal Orientation Scale



Copyright Information

Copyright owned by the American Psychological Association (APA)

Primary Reference

Clark, M. S., Ouellette, R., Powell, M. C., & Milberg, S. (1987). Recipient's mood, relationship type, and helpingJournal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 94-103.


To assess the extent to which a person typically behaves in a communal fashion toward others, as well as the extent to which a person expects others to behave in a communal fashion toward him or her.


Using a 5-point Likert response scale, participants indicate the extent to which a series of self-referent statements accurately describe their behaviors toward others and their opinions about how others should behave toward them.


          1 = Definitely does not sound like me
          2 = Does not sound like me
          3 = Neutral
          4 = Sounds like me
          5 = Definitely sounds like me

Number of Items



In undergraduate students (Clark et al., 1987)

  • Internal consistency (n = 561), Cronbach’s α = 0.78
  • Test-retest reliability (11 weeks; n = 128) = 0.68
  • Validity:  Scores on the Communal Orientation scale correlate with scores on measures of conceptually overlapping constructs (e.g. social responsibility, emotional empathy)

In combined PCS2, PMBC, & PCS3 sample (n = 733)

Internal consistency, Cronbach’s α = 0.78


Reversed Items: 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 13

Total Communal Orientation Score:  sum items 1, 2, 3R, 4R, 5, 6R, 7, 8, 9R, 10R, 11, 12R, 13R, 14

Results from a factor analysis of the scale that was published in the source article (Clark et al., 1987) suggested that 4 of the 14 items (1, 7, 11, and 14) comprise a subscale that measures the extent to which individuals want or expect others to behave in a communal manner toward them.   This Communal Toward Self subscore can be computed by summing the four items.


Total Communal Orientation Score

Communal Toward Self Subscore