Date: August 3, 2010
Davis, R. E., G. Alexander, et al. (2010). "A new audience segmentation tool for African Americans: the black identity classification scale." J Health Commun 15(5): 532-554.
Many health communications target African Americans in an attempt to remediate race-based health disparities. Such materials often assume that African Americans are culturally homogeneous; however, research indicates that African Americans are heterogeneous in their attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs. The Black Identity Classification Scale (BICS) was designed as a telephone-administered tool to segment African American audiences into 16 ethnic identity types. The BICS was pretested using focus groups, telephone pretests, and a pilot study (n = 306). The final scale then was administered to 625 Black adults participating in a dietary intervention study, where it generally demonstrated good internal consistency reliability. The construct validity of the BICS also was explored by comparing participants' responses to culturally associated survey items. The distribution of the 16 BICS identity types in the intervention study is presented, as well as select characteristics for participants with core identity components. Although additional research is warranted, these findings suggest that the BICS has good psychometric properties and may be an effective tool for identifying African American audience segments.