Development and Validation of the American Dream Scale: Assessing the Petty Bourgeois Mentality


  • Glenn Gamst
  • Roy Kwon
  • Lawrence S. Meyers


The present research developed and validated an instrument, the American Dream Scale (ADS), to measure a small business orientation conceptualized as petty bourgeois mentality. The initial exploratory study, using principal components analysis with promax rotation, was performed on the data from a convenience sample of 349 university students. A total of 17 items of the original 45 prototype items emerged from the analysis to comprise the ADS inventory that represented two factors named Creative Work Potential and Be My Own Boss. A second independent convenience sample of 306 university students provided data for a confirmatory factor analysis supporting the factor structure and an evaluation of a structural model predicting ADS. A third independent convenience sample of 502 US adults provided data for an additional confirmatory factor analysis again supporting the factor structure as well as providing convergent validity evidence to support use of the scale. Implications for future research are discussed in the context of how the ADS may help to elucidate fundamental petty bourgeois attitudes among various strata in the US working class.