Do Males and Females Report Similar Constructs of Rap Music? A Cross-Gender Validity Study of the Rap Music Attitude and Perception Scale

Article excerpt

Abstract

The popularity and pervasiveness of rap music is one of the most interesting social realities of the 21st century and interpretations of the effects of rap music lyrics have been given considerable attention in the literature in recent years. This study examined the cross -gender validity of a scale designed to measure rap music attitudes and perceptions. Findings suggest that measurement invariance of the modified rap music scale was supported by these data. Also, the criterion-related validity and reliability of the rap music scores were similarly adequate for both males and females. Future directions for research in this area are forwarded.

Key words: gender differences, cross-gender validity, rap music perceptions

The popularity and pervasiveness of rap music is one of the most compelling social realities of the 21st century and interpretations of the effects of rap music lyrics have been given considerable attention in the literature in recent years. Because of the controversial and highly sexualized content and images found in rap music, genderbased perceptions of the genre have become increasingly relevant. Despite the profoundly popular presence of rap music perceptions, few measurement tools currently exist that adequately covers the range of views on this genre. The one exception appears to be the Rap-music Attitude and Perception (RAP) scale (Tyson, 2005; 2006). This study investigates the validity of the RAP scale across gender.

The decision to develop the RAP as a "scaled" measure is consistent with current psychometric literature because one of the most common types of self-report measures is attitude and perception scales (Clark & Watson, 1995). The RAP was originally created through exploratory procedures (Tyson, 2005). When measures have been developed through exploratory procedures, the next best approach is to conduct a validity analyses to test whether the constructs found in the original study hold up against confirmatory methods (i.e., Tyson, 2006). Moreover, when measuring attitudes and perceptions in a self-report scale, differences in reporting among unique groups such as males and females might be expected. Therefore, during the validation process of a new scale, psychometric evaluation between groups might be an important research direction in order to provide evidence on the extent to which the intended construct is equally valid across different groups. Equipped with this information, researchers can determine differences and similarities in how individuals interpret the world with greater precision and also know more about the implications that can be drawn from these data (Haddock &Maio, 2004).

Understanding how gender can impact the conceptualization of a particular construct is important for several reasons. First, gender differences are illustrated in a wide array of studies regarding the way males and females experience pain (D'eon et al., 2004), differences in self-perception (Cecil & Stanley, 1997; Nugent, 1994), the expression of depression (Berard, 1997; Chino &Funabiki, 1984; Dozios et al., 1998), and the way they respond on personality measures (Grimm & Church, 1999). Although gender differences in reporting are expected because they were prominent in many studies, examining reasons for what accounts for these differences should also be noted. Males and females tend to perceive the world based on how they are socialized from a young age and; thus, often exhibit distinctively different values and interpretations of the world around them (Murphy & Gilligan, 1994). Increased knowledge on gender differences in worldview can aid in understanding potential differences in attitudes and perceptions. Therefore, rigorous analyses of differences in how males and females respond to items on self-report scales should be the norm and not the exception.

In consideration of possible gender differences, it is particularly important to ensure that the most appropriate and rigorous methods for validation are pursued when developing a scale (Conroy &Motl, 2003). …