RPSC Scale

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{{title|Richards Physical Self Concept Scale (RPSC; Richards, 1987)}}<br><center>by Garry Richards</center>
{{title|Richards Physical Self Concept Scale (RPSC; Richards, 1987)}}{{clear}}<center>by Garry Richards</center>
35 self-report items measuring 7 physical self-concept factors, plus 7 importance items.
35 self-report items measuring 7 physical self-concept factors, plus 7 importance items.

Revision as of 13:10, 14 March 2011

Richards Physical Self Concept Scale (RPSC; Richards, 1987)

by Garry Richards



35 self-report items measuring 7 physical self-concept factors, plus 7 importance items.


This 42-item scale is based on the Shavelson et al. (1976) hierarchical model of self-concept and is designed to measure physical self perceptions.

The RPSC has factor loadings ranging from .56 to .92 for the seven factor solution proposed by Richards:

  1. Body-build
  2. Action
  3. Appearance
  4. Health
  5. Physical ability
  6. Strength
  7. Satisfaction.

These factor loadings are stable across age groups and gender (Richards).

The first part of the scale comprises 35-items which are scored on the eight point Likert scale proposed by Richards (1987), ranging from 1 (false – not like me) to 8 (true – like me).

The items include a range of self–statements such as "I am good looking" (Appearance) and "If I get sick I get well quickly" (Health).

There are an equal number of positively- and negatively-worded items. Negatively-worded items should be scored in reverse and an average score for each of the seven proposed factors calculated. A higher score on the scale (closer to eight) indicates more positive self-perceptions.

The second part of the scale comprises seven items about the importance of each of the seven RPSC factors for participants on a five point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not important) to 5 (extremely important). Use of these questions is optional, depending on the purposes of the study.

The RPSC scale has demonstrated reliability for use with adolescents. Richards (1987) reported internal reliability alpha coefficients ranging from .81 to .92, for total and factor scores, for both male and female adolescent participants.

Test-retest (three week interval) reliability was high for boys (r = .86) and girls (r = .85), as reported by Richards demonstrating the reliability of the scale over time. In a review of three dominant physical self-concept measures, Marsh et al. (1994), strongly supported the psychometrics of the RPSC with a range of factor internal reliability scores of .86 to 90, and recommended it for use in research studies.


  1. RPSC (.pdf; original)
  2. RPSC (.doc)


  1. Marsh, H. W., Richards, G. E., Johnson, S., Roche, L., & Tremayne, P. (1994). Physical self-description questionnaire: Psychometric properties and a multitrait-multimethod analysis of relations to existing instruments. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 16, 270-305.
  2. Richards, G. E. (1987, January). Outdoor education in Australia in relation to the Norman Conquest, a Greek olive grove and the external perspective of a horse’s mouth. Paper session presented at the 5th National Outdoor Education Conference, Perth, Australia.
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