Perceived Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations: Causes of Third World Poverty Questionnaire in Spanish-Speaking Samples

Article excerpt

The aim of this paper was to analyze the factorial structure of the Causes of Third World Poverty Questionnaire (CTWPQ; Harper, 2002) in Spanish-speaking samples from two countries at different levels of development: Spain (developed nation) and Nicaragua (developing nation). In the English-speaking samples, the instrument displayed a factorial structure composed of four factors: "Blame the poor," "Blame Third World governments," "Blame nature," and "Blame exploitation" (Harper, Wagstaff, Newton, & Harrison, 1990). Bolitho, Carr, and Fletcher (2007) have since added a fifth factor: "Blame conflict". In the Spanish-speaking samples, a factorial structure composed of five factors can be observed. The factors are very similar to those obtained from the English-speaking samples.

Keywords: poverty, developing nations, causal attributions, Third World, Spanish speakers.


In recent years, interest in deepening attributions about the causes of poverty in developing nations has increased significantly (Campbell, Carr, & MacLachlan, 2001; Carr, Haef, Ribeiro, & MacLachlan, 1998; Carr & MacLachlan, 1998; Harper, 2002; Hine & Montiel, 1999; Payne & Fumham, 1985). The Millennium Development Goals, in particular the primary goal of halving the proportion of people suffering extreme poverty and hunger by the year 2015, have stimulated interest in beliefs about the causes of poverty in developing nations (Bolitho, Carr, & Fletcher, 2007; Hine, Montiel, Cooksey, & Lewko, 2005; Vazquez & Panadero, 2007). This is because these beliefs play an important role in determining attitudes and behavior responses toward this problem (Harper, 2002; Hine & Montiel, 1999) among inhabitants of developed economies--potential economic donors--and among those who live in developing nations.

However, at the present time there is a shortage of instruments for conducting studies of these characteristics. Thus, the development of standardized instruments is necessary to allow an approach to the causes of poverty for people from different cultures and population groups in developing nations, and to identify and monitor psychosocial barriers to donation, enabling nonprofit marketing organizations to raise funds more efficiently and effectively (Bolitho et al., 2007). Therefore, the Causes of Third World Poverty Questionnaire (CTWPQ; Harper, 2002)--a relatively unique instrument designed to evaluate people's perceptions of the causes of poverty in the so-called "Third World"--has been used repeatedly with samples from English-speaking countries of different levels of economic and social development (Campbell et al., 2001; Carr & MacLachlan, 1998). The study conducted by Harper, Wagstaff, Newton, and Harrison (1990), and reviewed by Harper (2002), examines the existence of a factorial structure in the CTWPQ in English-speaking samples from Australia and Malawi, composed of the following four factors: Blame the poor, Blame Third World governments, Blame nature, and Blame exploitation. Subsequent rigorous research (Bolitho et al., 2007) has added a fifth factor: Blame conflict. However, there are no studies that analyze the structure of this questionnaire in Spanish-speaking samples. The objective of this study is to analyze the CTWPQ structure, a useful instrument in English-speaking samples, which has been used quite extensively in Spanish-speaking samples of two countries with different levels of economic and social development: Spain (ranked 19 in the Human Development Index--HDI; UNDP, 2006) and Nicaragua (ranked 112 in the HDI).



There were 294 Psychology undergraduate students who participated in this study. Previous research (Vazquez, Panadero, & Rincon, 2006, 2007) has revealed that university-level Psychology students from Nicaragua and Spain were very similar in sociodemographic variables such as age, gender, educational level, marital status and number of children. …