Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Experimental Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Luke Conway

Commitee Members

Dan Denis, Wayne Freimund


Cynicism, Discrepancy, Domain-Specifics, Ideology, Minority Status


University of Montana


The construct of cynicism has been used in the field of social science in numerous different ways. However, this has been done with little consistency between studies on how to define and measure the construct. This research takes a closer look at cynicism to show that the construct is actually more complicated than originally believed. The goal is to more fully explore the consequences of a domain-specific cynicism measurement on interpretations and implications of cynicism research. Three domains of cynicism are proposed in this research: interpersonal cynicism, cultural cynicism, and governmental cynicism. These domains are explored with the development of a new domain- specific measure of cynicism. To demonstrate the utility of the domain-specific view of cynicism, this research includes a discrepancy model as a correlate of each domain. The discrepancy model includes measures that assess the difference between how a participant perceives a domain to be and their ideal of what the domain should be like. Results of this study mostly supported the need for domain-specific cynicism, especially when considering interpersonal and government cynicism. Cultural cynicism proved to be the most difficult to study but revealed some interesting results dealing with minority status. Overall this study suggests that separating cynicism into targeted domains gives important information for the interpretation of cynicism as a whole.

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© Copyright 2010 L. Janelle Gornick