PeerJ (Oct 2023)

Attitudes towards Italian Mafias Scale (AIMS): development and validation

  • Michael Schepisi,
  • Marco Tullio Liuzza,
  • Althea Frisanco,
  • Anna Maria Giannini,
  • Salvatore Maria Aglioti

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11
p. e16120


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In two studies we aimed at developing the Attitude towards Italian Mafias Scale (AIMS). In study 1 (N = 292) we used an Exploratory Factor Analysis to reduce the number of the items and explore their latent constructs. In study 2 (N = 393) we performed a Confirmatory Factor Analysis on the resulting 18-item questionnaire, whose latent structure was best identified by a general factor Mafia Attitude and three specific factors related to Behaviors, Cognitions and Emotions-Cognitions towards mafias. Moreover, we showed that the AIMS has (i) discriminant validity compared to a measure of attitudes towards crime, (ii) predictive validity of donation behavior to an association against mafias, (iii) internal consistency, and (iv) invariance for people of the five deep-rooted mafia regions of Southern Italy and those from the rest of Italy. Finally, we observed a difference between the participants from the five deep-rooted mafia regions (i.e., Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Sicily) and the rest of Italy, with the former having surprisingly more negative attitudes towards mafias compared to the latter. The AIMS might help to reliably survey people’s sentiment towards Italian mafias and promote targeted and effective law-related education interventions.