The iBelong Scale: Construction and Validation of a Measure of Racial–Ethnic–Cultural Belonging

B. Andi Lee, Helen A. Neville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to develop a measure of racial–ethnic–cultural (REC) belonging for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC). The iBelong Scale was designed to assess the multidimensional components of REC belonging across diverse BIPOC groups. The scale was constructed based on a grounded conceptual framework of REC belonging, and the initial pool of items received feedback from community members and content experts. Validation of the iBelong Scale comprised data from 808 BIPOC participants collected across three interrelated studies for the purposes of initial validation, construct validity, and test–retest reliability. In Study 1, an exploratory factor analysis yielded a 25-item scale with five factors: (a) Home, (b) Connection, (c) Authenticity, (d) REC Thriving, and (e) Self-Definition. Results from Study 2’s confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the five-factor model was an acceptable fit of the data and the best fit among competing models. Measurement invariance was assessed, and results indicated that the iBelong Scale measures REC belonging similarly across differing BIPOC groups. The iBelong Scale was related to a range of measures in theoretically expected ways, including positive associations with general belonging, racial/ethnic identity, and general well-being, and negative associations with loneliness and REC nonbelonging. Findings from Study 3 indicated the test–retest reliability of the iBelong Scale over a 2-week period. Limitations of the studies and implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-154
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 25 2024


  • Black, Indigenous, and other people of color
  • racial–ethnic–cultural identity
  • scale development
  • sense of belonging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'The iBelong Scale: Construction and Validation of a Measure of Racial–Ethnic–Cultural Belonging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this