Tools & Instruments
Tools Index

Summaries of Instruments
for analyzing personal & group change in psycho-social intervention & training programs, e.g., outdoor education

James Neill
Last updated:
21 Mar 2011


A summative rating on the overall appropriateness of each instrument for use in program evaluation research of psycho-social intervention programs is provided.  The following criteria are considered in making the overall ratings:

  • User-friendliness & administrative ease
  • Online availability
  • Financial cost
  • Short length (>15 mins)
  • Availability of supportive materials and technology to enter, analyse and interpret results
  • Availability of normative data
  • Well-tested factorial structure, reliability and validity
  • Focuses on constructs which are changeable and relevant to typical intervention goals
  • Applicable to wide range of participants
  • Can also be used as personal development tool/exercise
  • Overall value of the entire process of using the instrument for program evaluation purposes

Appropriate Usage:

If you use any part or all of any of these instruments,  please contact the instrument's authors so that your feedback and possibly your data can be used for further instrument development.  The instrument authors can also usually provide additional background information, latest versions and further research about the instrument.

Tool or Instrument


Useful Contacts

Adolescent Coping Scale (ACS)

The 79-item, 18 factor Adolescent Coping Scale (ACS) is designed to measure the frequency of usage of a variety of coping strategies typically used by adolescents.  The items were generated through qualitative questioning and quantitative piloting of an initial pool of items with Australian adolescents.  Copies of the ACS are purchasable from the Australian Council for Educational Research Council for about AU$1 per questionnaire.  You can also get copies from AGS Publishing. Overall rating: 6/10

More information

1. Australian Council for Educational Research

2. Erika Frydenberg

3. Raymon Lewis

4. James Neill

5. Bernd Heubeck

6. Debra Rickwood

Characteristics of the Experience (COE)

Promising measure for getting participant ratings of key learning processes in outdoor outdoor education programs.  Uses 5 scales, personal and group empowerment, instructor support, peer support, learning relevance.   Could be combined with an outcome measure such as the LEQ.  Not used widely.  Overall rating: 6/10.

1. Jim Sibthorp

Community Involvement Scale (CIS)

This pilot survey is designed to measure a person's self-perceived involvement in their community. It was developed using good principles of multi-item psychometrically sound instrumentation as part of a graduate class and is specifically designed as a way to measure the impact of intervention programs which aim to increase engagement of individuals to communities, but has yet to be pilot tested. Overall rating: 5.5/10.

1. Norm Staunton
2. James Neill

Connectedness to Nature Scale Mayer and Franz' (2004) 14-item Connectedness to Nature Scale (CNS). This instrument has a five point Likert scale (1. Strongly Agree, 2. Agree, 3. Neutral, 4. Disagree and 5. Strongly Disagree) and contains 14 items which can be combined to create an overall Connectedness to Nature score.

Mayer, F. S., & Frantz, C. M. (2004). The Connectedness to Nature Scale: A measure of individuals' feeling in community with nature. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24, 503-515.

Overall rating: 8/10

1. Mayer and Franz

General Well Being (GWB) / Mental Health Index (MHI)

For use with adolescents, Heubeck and Neill (2000) identified two main factors in Veit and Ware's (1983) Mental Health Index.  One factor measures the level of occurrence of positive psychological well-being during the past month (or other time frame), and the other factor measures the level of occurrence of psychological distress during the same time frame.  These two "General Well Being" factors can be measured reasonably well by 10 items each, making for a good, general measure of positive and negative indicators of psychological well-being that could be useful in evaluation studies of the effects of resilience-building and psychological well-being enhancement programs. Overall rating: 8/10.

1. James Neill
2. Bernd Heubeck

Life Effectiveness Questionnaire (LEQ)

Multi-dimensional measure of areas of personal effectiveness which are, theoretically, amenable to change through personal development programs.  Has 9 scales (29 items) and has been used in moderate amount of OE research.  Overall rating: 7/10

1. James Neill
2. Garry Richards

Life Effectiveness Questionnaire (LEQ) - Youth at Risk version

Contains 17 scales, 65 items, constructed to assess typical outcomes of adventure-based youth at risk programs.  Example scales include: self-esteem, locus of control, communication skills, understanding personal boundaries, goal-setting and healthy risk-taking.  The tool is customizable (choose the scales you want) and standardized instructions are available.  Approximately half the scales were adapted from existing instruments and new items were generated to assess other scales.  Users should be aware that these new scales are in pilot form.  A short version of the instrument and an observer version are also available.  Overall rating: 7/10.

1. James Neill

Life Skills Questionnaire (LSQ)

Multi-dimensional measure of 'life skills'.  Four factors -  social, leadership, self-regulation.  Not used widely.  Overall rating: 5/10.

1. Jim Sibthorp

Locus of Control (LOC)

Locus of Control (LOC) refers to the extent to which an individual views him/herself as causative or responsible for his/her experiences.  The scoring continuum ranges from external (perceives causes due to others, fate, god, etc.) to internal (perceives causes due to self).  Julian Rotter (1966) developed the original 29-item Locus of Control (LOC) questionnaire.  Since then, many others have tested, criticized and refined the concept and the measurement tool.  Rotter's LOC instrument is still in wide use, but increasingly people are turning to more specific measures of Locus of Control (e.g., health locus of control) and / or to multidimensional measures.  Personal development intervention programs generally have been found to be capable of having significant impacts on creating more internal LOC. Overall rating: 6.5/10

More information.

1. James Neill

Outdoor Situational Fear Inventory (OSFI)

The Outdoor Situational Fear Inventory (OSFI) has been used to measure the social-, physical-, and environmental-based fears of participants in Outward Bound and in college outdoor education programs. The OSFI uses a continuum scaling method in which respondents place a slash mark on a 10-centimeter line representing a continuum from "not at all anxious" to "very anxious." The continuum-scaled OSFI presents several problems: labor-intensive measurements, artificial sense of precision, and difficulties in converting to verbal description. As an alternative, a certainty scaling method was developed by Young et al (1994) in which respondents agree or disagree with a statement and then rate the strength of their opinion from 1 to 5. Responses are then converted to numerical values ranging from 1 to 10.  Young et al's (1994) study both forms of the OSFI were administered to 162 college students on the first day of 2-week outdoor adventure programs. Half of subjects completed the continuum version first, then the certainty-scaled OSFI; the other half did the opposite. With either scaling method, the OSFI and its social-fears and physical-fears subscales were reliable as measured by Cronbach's alpha. The order of administration had no effect on scores. The relationships of the two instruments' overall and subscale scores were strong. Overall rating: 6.5/10.

1. Andy Young

Participants Evaluation of Instructor and Program Quality (PEIPQ)

The PEIPQ-B has over 60-items, developed over 10 years, based on extensive work by Prof. Herbert Marsh in evaluating student perceptions of educational and teaching quality in higher education settings.  Modified by Garry Richards, former Executive Director of Outward Bound Australia, and used extensively over a period of 10 years for evaluating participant perceptions of course quality, course outcomes, instructor skills and relations with participants, course length, difficulty, etc.  No published psychometrics available.  There is a database of over 3000 responses to Outward Bound Australia programs.  Overall rating: 7/10.

1. James Neill
2. Garry Richards

Download the PEIPQ instrument.

Richards Physical Self-concept Scale (RPSC)


A self-report tool developed by Garry Richards in the 1980's which uses 35-items to measure 7 dimensions of physical self-concept (Richards, 1985). The instrument has been tested on a large, representative sample in Australia and the factor structure holds up well.  It could be an ideal instrument for use in investigating the effects of physical education, body image and weight loss / fitness.  The RPSC scale was used in a large, comparative study of the factor structure of three major physical self-concept instruments (Marsh et al., 1994).  Overall rating: 8/10.

1. Garry Richards

Program Satisfaction Assessment Tool (PSAT)

Twelve-items, easy to use across a wide variety of settings to assess client's overall satisfaction with a program.  Originally designed to assess program satisfaction with ropes challenge courses at the Browne Center by graduate student, Jeff Heyliger.  Focuses on whether a clients' needs and objectives were met.  Overall rating: 6/10 (not higher because it hasn't been subjected to full psychometric investigation -- pilot work completed).

Download Graduate paper describing development of PSAT.  Contains the 12 items in the appendix.

Recreation Experience Preference (REP) Inventory (Driver, 1977, 1983)

Designed to "measure the extent to which specific experiences are desired and expected from leisure activities" (Driver, Brown, & Peterson, 1991: 275).  Consists of 42 scales that describe possible desired outcomes of a recreational experience (e.g., social recognition, general nature experience, being with friends).  The scales are grouped into 21 more general recreation experience preference domains  (e.g., achievement, enjoy nature, similar people).  Two core statements for each scale are provided for use by researchers conducting empirical studies (e.g., "to show others I can do it," " to be close to nature," "to be with friends").  Not used widely in OE.  Overall rating 6/10.

- Driver's REP Scales
- Sugarman's instrument based on the REP

1. Deborah Sugarman


Resilience Scale (RS)

A measure of psychological resilience, that is, the capacity to withstand life stressors, thrive and make meaning from challenges.  Suggest using a shortened (10- or 15-item) version of Wagnild and Young's (1993) 25-item psychological resilience scale.  The shorter versions are derived from a factor analysis reported in Neill & Dias (2001).  In the Method of this article, there is also mention of some other resilience scales which may be of interest.  Appendix A contains the psychometrics of the final set of 15 resilience items we derived from exploratory factor analysis of data collected using Wagnild and Young's 25-item scale.  The Wagnild and Young study is difficult to get your hands on - try interlibrary loans.  For more information and to obtain permission to use the instrument, see the official Resilience Scale website.  Also see: What is resilience?  Overall rating: 7/10.


- Resilience Scale (.doc) (25 items)

- Resilience Scale (.doc) (15 items)

- Resilience Scale (.doc) (10 items)

1. Official Resilience Scale website

2. James Neill

Review of Personal Effectiveness & Locus of Control (ROPELOC)

Measures similar scales to the Life Effectiveness Questionnaire, but also includes Cooperative Teamwork, Locus of Control and a Control Scale.  See paper.  Overall rating: 7/10.

1. James Neill

Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale (RSE)

Rosenberg's (1965) 10-item general measure of self-esteem is the most widely used in self-esteem research over the past 30 years.  It has also been adapted for use in many different studies, e.g., for Marsh's General Self scale as part of his multi-dimensional self-concept questionnaires.  Rating: 8.5/10.

Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale & Scoring

Search Institute's Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes & Behaviors (A&B)

This 156-item survey measures the 40 developmental assets for youth, plus 8 thriving indicators, 5 developmental deficits, and 24 risk-taking behaviors.   The instrument must be purchased from the publishers.  Note that the instrument is more designed for assessing and mapping assets for diagnostic/feedback purposes as opposed to measuring change in personal/social constructs. Overall rating: 6.5/10.

Search Institute

Self-Description Questionnaire (SDQ)

Multi-dimensional self-concept instrument which has been extensively psychometrically validated.  3 versions -  I (primary school), II (secondary), III (adults).  8-12 self-concept scales.  Short versions available.  Has been used in moderate amount of OE research.  It's sensitivity for analysis of personal development change, however, may not be high.  Overall rating: 8/10.

Self-Concept Enhancement & Learning Facilitation (SELF) Centre

1. Herbert Marsh

Self-Efficacy (SE)

Self-efficacy refers to an individual's believes about his/her agency or capacity to successful perform various tasks.  Substantial research has suggested that alterations in self-efficacy beliefs are closely associated with changes in actual behavior/competence.  Whilst, a 10-item General Self-Efficacy Scale (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1993) measure is available, Bandura strongly recommends development of more specific self-efficacy measures, e.g., health-specific self-efficacy, exercise self-efficacy, teacher self-efficacy, and so on.  Overall rating: 8/10.

Information on Self-efficacy

1. Frank Pajares


Self-Perception Profiles for Adolescents (SPPA) (Harter, 1988)

This is one of the better known self-concept scales and one of the few designed specifically for adolescents.  The manual available for $20 and contains the scale which you are copy for your own use.  Send any orders direct to Susan Harter.
The Harter SPPA was recently used in Garst, B., Scheider, I., & Baker, D. (2001). Outdoor adventure program participation impacts on adolescent self-perception. Journal of Experiential Education, 24(1), 41-49.  Kara Sammet has also been using the scale in her evaluation of the impacts of programs with adolescents girls.  Overall rating: ?/10.

1. Susan Harter

Social Support (SS)

Currently there is no well developed measure of the extent to which group members socially support one another during outdoor and experiential education programs.  However, some initial steps and commentary about the need for such as instrument and results from the use of four trial questions (on instructor, group, most supportive person and least supportive person) are reported in a recent article by Neill and Dias (2001)

1. James Neill

Students Caring For Each Other (SCFEO) (Quay, 1999)

Measures the extent to which students perceived that they cared for others and were cared for by others during a program.  Still in development, but holds promise as an initial measure of this emerging area of interest for outdoor education research.  Overall rating: 5/10.

1. John Quay
2. Bettina Moonen

Team Development Index (TDI) (Priest)

Simon Priest used the TDI as the basis for his numerous studies on Corporate Adventure Training on teamwork outcomes.  For more information about these studies see Priest's research summaries at

1. Simon Priest

Tennessee Self-Concept Scale (TSCS) (Fitts, 1965)

The TSCS was a popular, multidimensional self-concept measure used in outdoor education and the social sciences more generally during the mid-1960's through to the mid-1980's but has since dropped off in popularity following reports (e.g., Marsh & Richards, 1988) of problems with its psychometrical structure.  A large amount of research using the TSCS in outdoor education was reviewing by Ewert's 1983 paper on adventure education self-concept outcomes, however no critical perspective on the instrument has been published within outdoor education.  Currently it is not generally used or recommended as an outcome measure.  Overall rating: 4/10.

1. James Neill

Youth Outcomes Questionnaire (Y-OQ)

The Youth Outcome Questionnaire (Y-OQ) and the Self Report Youth-Outcome Questionnaire (SR Y-OQ) can be used to track therapeutic progress of clients (Burlingame, 1995). The Y-OQ is a parent reported measure of a wide range of behaviors, situations, and moods which commonly apply to troubled teenagers, whereas the SR Y-OQ is the adolescent self-report version.   Six content areas are assessed by the Y-OQ and SR Y-OQ: Intrapersonal Distress, Somatic, Interpersonal Relations, Critical Items, Social Problems, Behavioral Dysfunction.  The instrument must be purchased from the publishers. Overall rating: 8/10. More information.

1. Keith Russell