Correlation Part 2

For this exercise, you'll be working with some questionnaire data I collected. The questionnaire included five attitude measures:

  1. Chivalry (chiv), a measure of the degree to which a person endorses the idea that men have more of an obligation to protect and provide for women than vice-versa.
  2. Moral Virtue (MVirt), a measure of the degree to which a person believes women are more morally virtuous (have a better conscience, more morally "pure," etc.) than men.
  3. Sexual Virtue (SVirt), a measure of the degree to which a person believes that women are more sexually virtuous (think about sex less often, don't think about others in sexual ways, etc.) than men.
  4. Attitudes toward Women Scale (AWS), a published measure of conservative or traditional gender role attitudes (e.g., women should not work outside the home).
  5. Female Agency (agency), a measure of the degree to which a person believes that women are as competent and as well-suited to positions of authority as men are.

You can download the dataset here:

Creating a Scatterplot

Let's compute the correlation between AWS and Agency that we saw on the last page. First, plot the data: Select Graphs -> Legacy Dialogs -> Scatter/Dot -> Simple Scatter, then put aws in the Y-axis box and agency in the X-axis box:

Then click OK. You should get a scatterplot like this:

Notice how high scores on AWS tend to be found with low scores on Agency. This would lead you to expect a negative correlation.

Computing a Correlation

To compute the correlation between Agency and AWS, select Analyze -> Correlate -> Bivariate (bivariate means "dealing with two variables"). Move AWS and Agency into the variables box and press OK. You should get output looking like this:

These tables can be hard to read at first, so go slowly. The first thing to notice about correlation tables is that they are symmetric - the upper right corner is a mirror image of the lower left corner. You can ignore the information in the lower left corner because it is all contained in the upper right corner.

In the first row of the table -

- is the actual correlation coefficient r. The correlation between any variable and itself (AWS with AWS) is a perfect 1.0. The correlation between AWS and Agency is r = -.843. There are two stars after this number, which, if you look at the table above, indicates that the correlation is significant at p < .01. The exact p-value is given in the second row:

Here you can see that the correlation is significant at p < .001 (remember that when SPSS says p = .000, it really means p < .001). In the third row:

are the number of observations that went into the correlation. This means that the correlation was based on responses from 201 people.

APA Style

To report the correlation above in APA style, you would write...

There was a significant negative correlation between AWS and agency,
(201) = -.843, p < .001. This correlation indicates that people with traditional gender role attitudes also tend to believe that women are less competent and less suited to positions of power than men.

Important: always provide an interpretation after you report the correlation.