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Measurement Equivalence of Nationalism and Constructive Patriotism in the ISSP: 34 Countries in a Comparative Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 January 2017

Eldad Davidov*
University of Cologne, Greinstrasse 2, 50939 Cologne, Germany
e-mail: (corresponding author)


Studies on national identity differentiate between nationalistic attitudes and constructive patriotism (CP) as two more specific expressions of national identity and as theoretically two distinct concepts. After a brief discussion of the theoretical literature, the following questions are examined: (1) Can nationalism and CP be empirically identified as two distinct concepts?; (2) Is their meaning fully or partially invariant across countries?; and (3) Is it possible to compare their means across countries? Data from the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) 2003 National Identity Module are utilized to answer these questions in a sample of 34 countries. Items to measure nationalism and CP are chosen based on the literature, and a series of confirmatory factor analyses to test for configural, measurement (metric), and scalar invariance are performed. Full or partial metric invariance is a necessary condition for equivalence of meaning across cultures and for a meaningful comparison of associations with other theoretical constructs. Scalar invariance is a necessary condition for comparison of means across countries. Findings reveal that nationalism and CP emerge as two distinct constructs. However, in some countries, some items that were intended to measure one construct also measure the other construct. Furthermore, configural and metric invariance are found across the full set of 34 countries. Consequently, researchers may now use the ISSP data to study relationships among nationalism, CP, and other theoretical constructs across these nations. However, the analysis did not support scalar invariance, making it problematic for comparing the means of nationalism and CP across countries.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Political Methodology 

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Author's note: I would like to thank GESIS-Köln for providing the data for the study, ZA Nr. 3910. I would also like to thank Peter Schmidt, Darren Davis, participants in the ISPP conference, Paris 2008, and two anonymous reviewers, for very helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. Many thanks to Lisa Trierweiler for the English proof of the manuscript. Replication materials are available on the Political Analysis Web site.


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