This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

“Tell Your Friends to Pull Up”: Development and Validation of the Measure of Allyship Identity (MAI)




Hanley, Erika

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



The present study describes the development and validation of the Measure of Allyship Identity (MAI), an instrument intending to assess the development of one’s identity as a social justice ally across a continuum. Items were constructed based on qualitative data gathered from focus groups conducted at a large Southeastern university. Thirty-four participants completed the focus group semi-structured interviews where they were asked to reflect on experiences and perceptions of allyship. Through grounded theory analysis process, fifteen themes emerged from the focus groups that contributed to the creation of a bank of 70 items to be reviewed for the MAI pilot measure. Seven subject matter area experts reviewed all 70 items to determine face validity whereby 13 items remained which spanned five of the initial themes: ally for whom or what; view of fairness and justice; relationship with privilege; ally attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors; and action. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with data from 218 participants yielded one factor. To evaluate for convergent and discriminant validity, participants completed the MAI along with a number of other measures that assessed favorable attitudes towards social justice activities, likelihood of engaging in social activism in the future, political solidarity, compassion for others, belief that the world is a just or fair place, belief in social dominance, and impression management. Although the statistical analyses did not support the MAI as a quantitative tool for assessing allyship identity development across a continuum, the results did support sound initial reliability and validity. A proposed model of allyship identity development, limitations, and implications for counseling psychology and training are discussed.