RPSC Scale

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



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

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, 1987), plus 7 items to measure the self-perceived importance of each physical self domain.

It is appropriate for use in measuring multiple dimensions of physical self-concept, with adolescents and adults, and for investigating the effects of physical education, body image and weight loss / fitness on physical self-concept.


  1. RPSC (.pdf; original)
  2. RPSC (.doc)
  3. Conditions of use


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 first part of the scale comprises 35-items which are scored on an 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.


Richards (1985) reports factor loadings ranging from .56 to .92 for the seven factor solution:

  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 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.

Reliability and validity

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.

The instrument has been tested on a large, representative sample in Australia and the factor structure holds up well. The RPSC was used in a large, comparative study of the factor structure of three major physical self-concept instruments (Marsh et al., 1994).

SPSS syntax


Variable name Item content
PS01BB I like the body build I have
PS02SA I would like to be more physically able
PS03AP I am good looking
PS04HE I seem to be always catching some sickness
PS05AC I like to take things easy and avoid physical activity, games or sports
PS06BB My body is a good shape and in good proportion
PS07PC Physically I have good coordination
PS08ST I am not physically strong
PS09AP I am a nice looking person
PS10AC I like to keep out of games, sports and other physical activity
PS11HE I get sick more often than most people
PS12PC My natural coordination and agility are good
PS13BB My body is out of proportion and not a good shape
PS14ST I am a physically strong person
PS15SA I would like to be more physically attractive
PS16AC I dislike sports and physical activities
PS17HE I generally have good health and am not often sick
PS18AP I have a pleasant looking face
PS19ST I am stronger than other people my age
PS20SA I would like to have better co-ordination and agility
PS21BB My body weight is about right (neither too fat nor too skinny)
PS22HE I have had a lot of sickness in my life
PS23AP I have nice features like nose, eyes and hair
PS24SA I would like to have a stronger body
PS25AC I hate playing sports and doing physical activities
PS26PC I am physically un-coordinated
PS27AP I have nice facial features
PS28AC I only like short periods of physical activities
PS29ST I have a strong muscular body
PS30PC I am good at activities where I have to use physical co-ordination
PS31ST I am not very strong
PS32HE If I get sick I get well quickly
PS33SA I wish I were better at sports, games and activities
PS34BB My body is a good shape
PS35PC I have good balance and coordination

Reverse coding

compute PS02SAR=9-PS02SA.
compute PS04HER=9-PS04HE.
compute PS05ACR=9-PS05AC.
compute PS08STR=9-PS08ST.
compute PS10ACR=9-PS10AC.
compute PS11HER=9-PS11HE.
compute PS13BBR=9-PS13BB.
compute PS15SAR=9-PS15SA.
compute PS16ACR=9-PS16AC.
compute PS20SAR=9-PS20SA.
compute PS22HER=9-PS22HE.
compute PS24SAR=9-PS24SA.
compute PS25ACR=9-PS25AC.
compute PS26PCR=9-PS26PC.
compute PS28ACR=9-PS28AC.
compute PS31STR=9-PS31ST.
compute PS33SAR=9-PS33SA.

Compute scale scores

compute PSBB=mean(PS01BB ,PS06BB ,PS13BBR,PS21BB ,PS34BB ).
compute PSSA=mean(PS02SAR,PS15SAR,PS20SAR,PS24SAR,PS33SAR).
compute PSAP=mean(PS03AP ,PS09AP ,PS18AP ,PS23AP ,PS27AP ).
compute PSHE=mean(PS04HER,PS11HER,PS17HE ,PS22HER,PS32HE ).
compute PSAC=mean(PS05ACR,PS10ACR,PS16ACR,PS25ACR,PS28ACR).
compute PSPC=mean(PS07PC ,PS12PC ,PS26PCR,PS30PC ,PS35PC ).
compute PSST=mean(PS08STR,PS14ST ,PS19ST ,PS29ST ,PS31STR).

variable labels
PSBB 'PSC Body Build'
PSSA 'PSC Satisfaction'
PSAP 'PSC Appearance'
PSHE 'PSC Health'
PSAC 'PSC Action'
PSPC 'PSC Physical Ability'
PSST 'PSC Strength'
PS 'PSC Overall'.


  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.
  3. Shavelson, R. J., Hubner, J. J., & Stanton, G. C. (1976). Self-concept: Validation construct interpretations. Review of Educational Research, 46, 407-441.
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