Brief Measures of the Four Highest-Order Primal World Beliefs

Jeremy D.W. Clifton, David B. Yaden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Primal world beliefs (“primals”) are beliefs about the basic character of the world (e.g., “the world is an abundant place”). The first effort to empirically map primals identified over two dozen such beliefs. The four highest-order beliefs––the overall belief that theworld is Good (vs. bad), followed by Good’s three dimensions of Safe (vs. dangerous), Enticing (vs. dull), and Alive (vs. mechanistic)—were novel and strongly correlated to many theoretically relevant outcomes such as depression. However, measuring these four beliefs currently requires administering the 99-itemPrimals Inventory (PI-99) and computing lengthy subscales (71, 29, 28, and 14 items). This article validates briefer measures. Study 1 (N = 459) and Study 2 (N = 5,171) examines the dimensionality, internal reliability, and test–retest reliability of scores on an 18-item measure of Good, Safe, Enticing, and Alive (PI-18). Study 3 (N = 3,947) does the same for a briefer 6-item measure of overall Good world belief (PI-6). Study 4 (N = 5,794) compares both versions to the PI-99 (the gold standard) and 14 of its correlates, including depression and life satisfaction. We conclude by recommending the PI-6 and PI-18 for most research and clinical uses and note that correspondence of three parallel forms implies not only scale accuracy but also robustness of the latent phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1267-1273
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Good world belief
  • Measurement
  • Primal world beliefs
  • Primals inventory
  • Short-form scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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