The development and initial validation of the decent work scale

Ryan D. Duffy, Blake A. Allan, Jessica W. England, David L. Blustein, Kelsey L. Autin, Richard P. Douglass, Joaquim Ferreira, Eduardo J.R. Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations


Decent work is positioned as the centerpiece of the recently developed Psychology of Working Theory (PWT; Duffy, Blustein, Diemer, & Autin, 2016). However, to date, no instrument exists which assesses all 5 components of decent work from a psychological perspective. In the current study, we developed the Decent Work Scale (DWS) and demonstrated several aspects of validity with 2 samples of working adults. In Study 1 (N = 275), a large pool of items were developed and exploratory factor analysis was conducted resulting in a final 15-item scale with 5 factors/subscales corresponding to the 5 components of decent work: (a) physically and interpersonally safe working conditions, (b) access to health care, (c) adequate compensation, (d) hours that allow for free time and rest, and (e) organizational values that complement family and social values. In Study 2 (N=589), confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that a 5-factor, bifactor model offered the strongest and most parsimonious fit to the data. Configural, metric, and scalar invariance models were tested demonstrating that the structure of the instrument did not differ across gender, income, social class, and majority/minority racial/ethnic groups. Finally, the overall scale score and 5 subscale scores correlated in the expected directions with similar constructs supporting convergent and discriminant evidence of validity, and subscale scores evidenced predictive validity in the prediction of job satisfaction, work meaning, and withdrawal intentions. The development of this scale provides a useful tool for researchers and practitioners seeking to assess the attainment of decent work among employed adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-221
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Psychological Association.


  • Decent work
  • Instrument development
  • Psychology of working


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