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Perceived Cohesion: A Conceptual and Empirical Examination

Kenneth A. Bollen and Rick H. Hoyle
Social Forces
Vol. 69, No. 2 (Dec., 1990), pp. 479-504
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2579670
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2579670
Page Count: 26
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Perceived Cohesion: A Conceptual and Empirical Examination
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Abstract

Most existing measures of cohesion attempt to objectively measure cohesion while neglecting individual group members' perceptions of their cohesion to a particular group. We propose that group members' perceptions of cohesion are important for the behavior of the individual as well as the group as a whole. We offer a theoretical definition of perceived cohesion which says individuals' perceptions of their own cohesion to a group has two dimensions: sense of belonging and feelings of morale. We test this conceptualization and the adequacy of our Perceived Cohesion Scale in two random samples: students at a small college noted for its strong "school spirit" and residents of a midsized city. Our confirmatory factor analyses indicate a two-factor model, with a high degree of invariance across the two samples, and with the two dimensions correlated over .90 in both. However, as anticipated, perceived cohesion is significantly higher in the college than the city sample.

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