A Multidimensional Model of Legal Cynicism

Faith E. Gifford, Michael Reisig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Legal socialization researchers have been paying more attention to legal cynicism, but the manner in which the concept was operationalized varied greatly and measurement properties of existing scales did not always meet traditional thresholds. The objective of this study was to construct and test a multidimensional legal cynicism scale with strong psychometric properties. We conducted 2 independent studies. In Study 1, we used survey data from a university-based sample (N = 502) to estimate a promax-rotated exploratory factor model. In Study 2, we used survey data from a second university-based sample (N = 587) in a confirmatory factor model to replicate the findings from Study 1. Results from both studies indicated that legal cynicism possessed a 3-dimensional structure (i.e., legal antipathy, low legal legitimacy, and legal corruption) and was correlated with criminal offending. The new legal cynicism scale possessed strong psychometric properties and predictive validity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLaw and Human Behavior
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Criminal offending
  • Legal cynicism
  • Legal socialization
  • Procedural justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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