Methods: This study used data collected in 2016 from a self-administered online survey provided to college students in a Northeastern university in order to determine their experiences and attitudes related to sexual assault. Participants were also asked the extent to which they felt part of their campus community by using the BSCS, with a minor adaptation to indicate that the university campus was the community of interest. The BSCS assessed participants’ needs fulfillment, group membership, influence, and emotional connection. Almost two-thirds of participants were female (65%). Nearly 22% were Asian, non-Hispanic; about one-fifth (19.77%) was Black, non-Hispanic; a little over one-quarter was Hispanic (26.23%) and 28.09% were White, non-Hispanic.
Multi-group Confirmatory Factor Analysis was used to assess the validity of the BSCS as a first order, four factor structure for Black, non-Hispanics and Hispanics simultaneously, and to test the equality of the BSCS parameters across the two groups.
Results: The configural invariance model indicated that the BSCS four-factor structure is supported across Black, non-Hispanics and Hispanics (X2= 68.707; DF= 28; CFI=.988; RMSEA=.045). The measurement weights model indicated equivalence of factors loading across the two groups (X2= 3.737; DF= 4; p=.443). The measurement intercepts model (X2= 31.130; DF= 12.31; p<.05), structural covariances model (X2= 36.878; DF= 22; p<.05), and the measurement residual model (X2= 44.938; DF= 30; p<.05) indicated that the two groups were not equal based on intercepts, variances and covariances, and error covariances. That is, Black, non-Hispanics had statistically significant higher item intercepts than Hispanics and their mean intercept was not equal for two latent constructs: group membership and influence.
Conclusions and Implications: The multidimensional construct of the BSCS was confirmed for Black, non-Hispanics and Hispanics. Similarly, the factor loading for each of the BSCS dimension was equal across the two groups. Since equivalence was not upheld for all models in the analysis, caution should be exercised when testing for mean differences between Black, non-Hispanics and Hispanics as their mean intercepts are not equal. This study highlights differences among Blacks, non-Hispanics and Hispanics on their understanding of group membership and influence, warranting further exploration.