Journal of Social and Political Psychology (Jul 2018)

Self-Censorship Orientation: Scale Development, Correlates and Outcomes

  • Keren Sharvit,
  • Daniel Bar-Tal,
  • Boaz Hameiri,
  • Anat Zafran,
  • Eldad Shahar,
  • Amiram Raviv

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 2
pp. 331 – 363


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Self-censorship is defined as intentionally and voluntarily withholding information from others in absence of formal obstacles. We conducted cross-sectional and longitudinal research to develop a quantitative measure of individuals’ Self-Censorship Orientation (SCO) and investigated its correlates and outcomes in the context of the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Stage 1 investigated the factor structure of the scale and its convergent and discriminant validity in a representative sample (N = 499). Findings revealed two negatively related factors representing preferences for self-censorship and for disclosure of information. The factors were distinct from measures of similar constructs and correlated as expected with variables representing conservatism, ingroup commitment and universalistic values. In Stage 2, participants were re-surveyed five months later to establish test-retest reliability and predictive validity. SCO factors assessed at Stage 1 predicted readiness to conceal or reveal information portraying the ingroup’s conduct in the conflict negatively beyond all Stage 1 measures. The SCO scale provides a reliable and valid instrument for future investigations of self-censorship and its individual and societal implications.