Deutsch: Skala / Español: Escala / Português: Escala / Français: Échelle / Italiano: Scala

(1) A type of composite measure composed of several items that have a logical or empirical structure among them. Examples of scales include Bogardus social distance, Guttman, Likert, and Thurstone scales. Contrasted with index. (2) One of the less appetizing parts of a fish.

Scale in the psychology context generally refers to a set of standardized questions or tasks designed to measure specific psychological attributes, traits, or abilities. These scales are crucial tools in psychological research and clinical practice, providing a systematic way to quantify complex constructs like intelligence, personality, mental health status, and many other psychological phenomena.


A psychological scale typically consists of multiple items that participants respond to, and these responses are then used to derive a quantitative measure that reflects the underlying psychological trait being assessed. Scales can vary widely in their format, ranging from simple Likert scales, which gauge agreement with statements, to more complex multidimensional scales assessing broad constructs like depression or anxiety.

Application Areas

Scales are used across diverse fields within psychology:

  • Clinical Psychology: Scales assess symptoms of mental disorders and track therapeutic progress.
  • Educational Psychology: They measure learning abilities, cognitive development, and academic achievement.
  • Social Psychology: Scales help quantify attitudes, prejudices, and social behaviors.

Well-Known Examples

Examples of widely used psychological scales include:

  • Beck Depression Inventory (BDI): A scale measuring the presence and severity of depression.
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): A personality scale that categorizes individuals into personality types based on their preferences in perceiving the world and making decisions.
  • Big Five Personality Traits: Scales that assess the major dimensions of personality: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

Treatment and Risks

Psychological scales are instrumental in diagnosing psychological conditions and measuring the effectiveness of treatments. However, the accuracy of scales can be compromised by factors such as poorly designed questions, response biases, and cultural differences that might affect how questions are interpreted and answered.

Similar Terms

Related terms include "instrument", which refers to any tool or method used in psychological assessment, and "measure", which is a broader term for any type of assessment, whether qualitative or quantitative.


  • 'Scale' in the glossary of the

Articles with 'Scale' in the title

  • Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale: The Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale refers to a rating scale that was designed to measure involuntary movements known as Tardive Dyskinesia, a disorder that sometimes develops as a side effect of long-term treatment with neuroleptic (an . . .
  • Age scale: Age scale refers to a test in which items are grouped according to age level. (The Binet scale, for example, grouped into one age level items that two thirds to three- quarters of a representative group of children at a specific age could s . . .
  • Apgar scale: Apgar scale: Apgar scale refers to a measure of a newborn's health that assesses appearance, pulse, grimace, activity level, and respiratory effort.
  • Bogardus social distance scale: Bogardus social distance scale refers to a measurement technique for determining the willingness of people to participate in social relations- of varying degrees of closeness with other kinds of people
  • Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale: Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale: Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale refers to a measure of a newborn's motor behavior, response to stress, adaptive behavior, and control over physiological state
  • Center for Epidemiologic Studies of Depression Scale: The Center for Epidemiologic Studies of Depression Scale (CES-D) was designed to measure current level of depressive symptomatology, and especially depressive affect
  • Faces Scale: Faces Scale refers to a measure of job satisfaction in which raters place a mark under a facial expression that is most similar to the way they feel about their jobs
  • Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS): Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) refers to a three-item scale usually used in the medical setting to assess the severity of coma. The GCS ranges from 3 to 15 points, with lower scores indicating severe coma and higher scores suggesting a confusiona . . .
  • HOME scale: HOME scale refers to the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment scale, a scale developed by Bradley, Caldwell, and Elardo that provides a detailed analysis of parental behavior and characteristics of the home environment that a . . .
  • Interval scale: Interval scale refers to a measurement scale that possess the properties of difference, magnitude, and equal intervals. Interval scale, moreover, is defined as a scale of measurement in which the categories are organized sequentially and al . . .
  • Job in General Scale: Job in General Scale is defined as a measure of the overall level of job satisfaction. The Job in General Scale (JIG) is a commonly used measure of job satisfaction in the field of industrial-organizational psychology
  • Least Preferred Co-Worker Scale (LPC): Least Preferred Co-Worker Scale (LPC) refers to an indirect measure that was developed by Fred Fiedler, of the tendency to lead by stressing the task (low LPC) or relationships (high LPC)
  • Least-Preferred Coworker Scale: Least-Preferred Coworker Scale is defined as a test used in conjunction with Fiedler’s contingency model to reveal leadership style and effectiveness
  • Likert scale: Likert scale is defined as a rating scale presented as a horizontal line divided into categories so that participants can circle a number or mark an X at the location corresponding to their response
  • Likert-type scale: Likert-type scale refers to an attitude measurement technique that requires respondents to indicate the extent of their agreement or disagreement with several statements on an issue
  • Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale: Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale or NBAS that refers to a test that assesses a neonate ’s neurological integrity and responsiveness to environmental stimuli
  • Rating scale: Rating Scale is defined as a scale based on descriptive words or phrases that indicate performance levels. Qualities of a performance are described in order to designate a level of achievement
  • Thurstone scale: Thurstone scale refers to an attitude measurement technique that requires respondents to place a check-mark beside statements with which they agree. It is a type of composite measure, constructed in accord with the weights assigned by "judg . . .
  • Wechsler adult intelligence scale: Wechsler adult intelligence scale (WAIS) refers to an individually administered measure of intelligence, intended for adults aged 16-89. The WAIS is intended to measure human intelligence reflected in both verbal and performance abilities
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) refers to an individually administered measure of intelligence intended for children aged six (6) years to 16 years and 11 months
  • Behavioral observation scales: Behavioral observation scales refers to a method of performance Appraisal in which supervisors rate the frequency of observed behaviors. Behavioral observation scales is also known as BOS
  • Environmental assessment scales: Environmental assessment scales refer to measures of key environmental dimensions hypothesized to influence behavior. Other /More definition: Environmental assessment scales refer to measures of key environmental dimensions which are hypoth . . .


In psychology, a scale is a tool used to measure psychological variables quantitatively. These scales are fundamental in research and clinical practice, allowing for the assessment and monitoring of traits, abilities, and symptoms in a standardized and replicable manner.


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