Skip to main content Accessibility help

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

  • Eldad Davidov (a1)


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.


Corresponding author

e-mail: (corresponding author)


Hide All

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.



Hide All
Adcock, Robert, and Collier, David. 2001. Measurement validity: A shared standard for qualitative and quantitative research. American Political Science Review 95(3): 529–46.
Adorno, Theodor W., Frenkel-Brunswik, Else, Levinson, Daniel J., and Nevitt Sanford, R. 1950. The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper & Row.
Arbuckle, James L. 2005. Amos 6.0 user's guide. Chicago: SPSS.
Bar-Tal, Daniel. 1997. The monopolization of patriotism. In Patriotism in the lives of individuals and nations, eds. Bar-Tal, D. and Staub, E., 246–70. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.
Billiet, Jaak. 2003. Cross-cultural equivalence with structural equation modeling. In Cross-cultural survey methods, eds. Harkness, J. A., Van de Vijver, F. J. R., and Mohler, P. Ph, 247–64. New York, NY: John Wiley.
Billiet, Jaak, and McClendon, McKee J. 2000. Modeling acquiescence in measurement models for two balanced sets of items. Structural Equation Modeling 7(4): 608–28.
Blank, Thomas. 2003. Determinants of national identity in East and West Germany: An empirical comparison of theories on the significance of authoritarianism, anomie, and general self-esteem. Political Psychology 24: 259–88.
Blank, Thomas, and Schmidt, Peter. 2003. National identity in a united Germany: Nationalism or patriotism? An empirical test with representative data. Political Psychology 24: 289311.
Blank, Thomas, Schmidt, Peter, and Westle, Bettina. 2001. A contradiction, a possibility, or an empirical reality? ‘Patriotism’ Paper presented at the ECPR, Grenoble, France, April 2001.
Bollen, Kenneth A. 1989. Structural equations with latent variables. New York: Wiley.
Brown, Roger L. 1994. Efficacy of the indirect approach for estimating structural equation models with missing data: A comparison of five methods. Structural Equation Modeling 1: 287316.
Browne, Michael W., and Cudeck, Robert. 1993. Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In Testing structural equation models, eds. Bollen, K. A. and Long, J. S., 445–55. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Byrne, Barbara M. 2001. Structural equation modeling with AMOS. Basic concepts, application, and programming. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Byrne, Barbara M., Shavelson, Richard J., and Muthén, Bengt O. 1989. Testing for the equivalence of factor covariance and mean structures: The issue of partial measurement invariance. Psychological Bulletin 105: 456–66.
Chen, Fang Fang 2007. Sensitivity of goodness of fit indices to lack of measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling 14: 464504.
Cheung, Gordon W., and Rensvold, Roger B. 2000. Assessing extreme and acquiescence response sets in cross-cultural research using structural equations modeling. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 31: 187212.
Cheung, Gordon W., and Rensvold, Roger B. 2002. Evaluating goodness-of-fit indexes for testing measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling 9: 233–55.
Coenders, Marcel. 2001. “Nationalistic attitudes and ethnic exclusionism in a comparative perspective: An empirical study of attitudes toward the country and ethnic immigrants in 22 Countries.” PhD diss., Nijmegen University.
Cohrs, J. Christopher. 2005. Patriotismus—Sozialpsychologische Aspekte [Patriotism—Social-psychological aspects]. Zeitschrift fur Sozialpsychologie 36: 311.
Curti, Merle. 1946. The roots of American loyalty. New York: Columbia University Press.
Davidov, Eldad, Schmidt, Peter, and Schwartz, Shalom H. 2008. Bringing values back in: The adequacy of the European Social Survey to measure values in 20 countries. Public Opinion Quarterly 72(3): 420–45.
De Beuckelaer, Alain. 2005. “Measurement invariance issues in international management research.” PhD diss., Limburg University.
Flora, David B., and Curran, Patrick J. 2004. An empirical evaluation of alternative methods of estimation for confirmatory factor analysis with ordinal data. Psychological Methods 9: 466–91.
Harkness, Janet A., van de Vijver, Fons J. R., and Mohler, Peter Ph. 2003. Cross-cultural survey methods. New York, NY: John Wileyeds.
Hjerm, Mikael. 1998a. Reconstructing ‘positive’ nationalism: Evidence from Norway and Sweden. Sociological Research Online 3(2), (accessed February 12, 2007).
Hjerm, Mikael. 1998b. National identities, national pride, and xenophobia: A comparison of four western countries. Acta Sociologica 41(4): 335–47.
Hjerm, Mikael. 2001. Education, xenophobia, and nationalism: A comparative analysis. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 27(1): 3760.
Horn, John L., and McArdle, Jack J. 1992. A practical and theoretical guide to measurement invariance in aging research. Experimental Aging Research 18: 117–44.
Horn, John L., McArdle, Jack J., and Mason, Ralph. 1983. When is invariance not invariant: A practical scientist's look at the ethereal concept of factor invariance. The Southern Psychologist 1: 179–88.
Hu, Litze, and Bentler, Peter M. 1999. Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling 1: 155.
Hui, C. Hary, and Triandis, Harry C. 1985. Measurement in cross-cultural psychology. A review and comparison of strategies. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 16: 131–52.
Jöreskog, Karl G. 1971. Simultaneous factor analysis in several populations. Psychometrika 36: 409–26.
King, Gary, Murray, Christopher J. L., Salomon, Joshua A., and Tandon, Ajay. 2004. Enhancing the validity and cross-cultural comparability of measurement in survey research. American Political Science Review 98(1): 191207.
Kosterman, Rick, and Feshbach, Seymour. 1989. Toward a measure of patriotic and nationalistic attitudes. Political Psychology 10: 257–74.
Lubke, Gitta H., and Muthén, Bengt O. 2004. Applying multigroup confirmatory factor models for continuous outcomes to Likert scale data complicates meaningful group comparisons. Structural Equation Modeling 11: 514–34.
Meredith, William. 1993. Measurement invariance, factor analysis, and factorial invariance. Psychometrika 58: 525–43.
Meuleman, Bart, and Billiet, Jaak. 2005. Attitudes toward migration in Europe: A cross-cultural and contextual approach. Barcelona: Spain. Paper presented at the 1st ESRA Conference.
Morray, Joseph P. 1959. Pride of state. Boston: Beacon.
Muthén, Linda K., and Muthén, Bengt O. 2007. Mplus user's guide. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.
Raijman, Rebeca, Davidov, Eldad, Schmidt, Peter, and Hochman, Oshrat. 2008. What does a nation owe non-citizens? National attachments, perception of threat and attitudes toward granting citizenship rights in comparative perspective. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 49 (2–3): 195220.
Rock, Donald A., Werts, Charles E., and Flaugher, Ronald L. 1978. The use of analysis of covariance structures for comparing the psychometric properties of multiple variables across populations. Multivariate Behavioral Research 13: 403–18.
Saris, Willem E., and Satorra, Albert. 1993. Power evaluations in structural models. In Testing structural equation models, eds. Bollen, Kenneth A. and Long, Scott J., 181204. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Saris, Willem E., Satorra, Albert, and Sörbom, Dag. 1987. The detection and correction of specification errors in structural equation models. Sociological Methodology 17: 105–29.
Saris, Willem E., and Gallhofer, Irmtraud N. 2007. Design, evaluation and analysis of questionnaires for survey research. NewYork: Wiley.
Schafer, Joseph L., and Graham, John W. 2002. Missing data: Our view of the state of the art. Psychological Methods 7: 147–77.
Schatz, Robert T., and Staub, Ervin. 1997. Manifestations of blind and constructive patriotism: Personality correlates and individual group relations. In Patriotism in the lives of individuals and nations, eds. Bar-Tal, D. and Staub, E., 229–46. Chicago: Nelson-Hall Publishers.
Schatz, Robert T., Staub, Ervin, and Lavine, Howard. 1999. On the varieties of national attachment: Blind versus constructive patriotism. Political Psychology 20(1): 151–74.
Shevlin, Mark, and Miles, Jeremy. 1998. Effects of sample size specification and factor loadings on the GFI in confirmatory factor analysis. Personality and Individual Differences 21: 8590.
Smith, Tom W., and Jarkko, Lars. 2001. “National pride in cross-national perspective.” Unpublished manuscript Sommerville, Johann. 1981. Patriotism and war. Ethics 91: 568–78.
Staub, Ervin. 1989. The roots of evil: The origins of genocide and other group violence. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Staub, Ervin. 1997. Blind versus constructive patriotism: Moving from embeddedness in the group to critical loyalty and action. In Patriotism in the lives of individuals and nations, eds. D. Bar-Tal and E. Staub, 213–28. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.
Steenkamp, Jan-Benedict E. M., and Baumgartner, Hans. 1998. Assessing measurement invariance in crossnational consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research 25:7890.
Vandenberg, Robert J., and Lance, Charles E. 2000. A review and synthesis of the measurement invariance literature: Suggestions, practices and recommendations for organizational research. Organizational Research Methods 3:469.
MathJax is a JavaScript display engine for mathematics. For more information see


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed