Sense of personal control: Can it be assessed culturally unbiased across Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians?



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Santiago, P., Nielsen, T., Roberts, R., Smithers, L. & Jamieson, L. (2020). Sense of personal control: Can it be assessed culturally unbiased across Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians?. PLoS One, 15 (10 October),


2020 Santiago et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. In recent decades, several studies have emphasized sense of personal control as a prominent aspect of Aboriginal health. However, one limitation is that instruments available to measure personal control were originally developed in western countries and validation for Aboriginal Australians has not been conducted. The aims of the current study were to evaluate whether the Sense of Personal Control Scale (SPCS) can be used to obtain culturally unbiased measurement of personal control across Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians and to assess the psychometric properties of the SPCS for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australian. Methods: The current study utilized two Australian subsamples retrieved from the Teeth Talk Study (n = 317) and the National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004-2006 (n = 3,857) in which the SPCS was included. Graphical Loglinear Rasch Models (GLLRM) were used to fulfill the aims of the study. Results: The Perceived Constraints subscale fitted a GLLRM for Aboriginal Australians after the exclusion of three items, while fit to any Rasch model (RM) or GLLRM model could not be found in the non-Aboriginal sample. The Mastery subscale fitted a GLLRM in the non-Aboriginal sample after the exclusion of one item. In the Aboriginal sample, two items of the Mastery subscale fitted the RM, however, two items cannot be considered as a scale. Conclusion: In the present study, we showed that the development of new items is crucial before the revised SPCS might constitute a valid and reliable measure of sense of personal control in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australian populations, and it is possible to assess whether the SPCS can be measured without bias across these two populations.

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