The rural identity scale: Development and validation

Carrie B. Oser, Justin Strickland, Evan J. Batty, Erin Pullen, Michele Staton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to conduct a psychometric evaluation of a new 35-item survey developed in the United States to measure rural identity. Methods: Factor structure, reliability, convergent validity, and incremental validity of the Rural Identity Scale (RIS) were examined using two datasets. Study 1 examined RIS psychometric properties using survey data collected from substance use treatment counselors in a southeastern state (n = 145), while Study 2 used data collected from women incarcerated in rural jails (n = 400). Findings: A one-factor structure containing 15 items was identified in the RIS, with acceptable internal reliability (α =.72–.83). In Study 1, participants from rural counties had significantly higher RIS scores than their urban counterparts. In both studies, convergent validity was evaluated and the RIS scores were significantly associated with other measures relevant to identity and rurality at the bivariate level. Incremental validity was supported in multivariable models as the RIS scores were significantly and uniquely associated with primary rural place variables in each sample. Conclusions: This study is an initial step toward a reliable, valid scale measuring rural identity. RIS may be especially beneficial to health research as a methodological tool that can contextualize health behaviors among rural populations and highlight potential interventions to promote health equity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-310
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 National Rural Health Association

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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