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# Pearson VS Spearman — Choosing and interpreting the test (SPSS)

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1. Hello, I need to fix the problem choosing and interpreting thecorrect statistical test for my data. I have data from (a) Minnesota Job SatisfactionQuestionnaire short form (20 questions, answers from 1 (=very dissatisfied) to5 (=very satisfied)) and (b) from Social Readjustment Rating Scale (43 items, minimumof summed scores of stress events is 12 and the maximum score is 500). Number of respondents (doctors) = 60.
My hypothesis was that the more stress events was in aperson's life in the last 6 months, the less satisfied he/she will be, that is,the scores of Social Readjustment Rating Scale (which measures quantity andintensity of stress events) will be negatively associated with Job Satisfactionscores.
In my data Job Satisfaction scores are in a range of 20-60 and SRRS scores are in a range of 12-500. First I checked Pearson's r coefficient because all theresearches I met on this topic used this correlation. Results I got was: r =0.01 which is very low and means that there is no correlation between the twovariables and sig = 0.997 which is higher than 0.05 so it means I must rejectthe hypothesis that there is no correlation, right? Then I thought, maybe it's because my data is of ordinalmeasure because the data can be ranked just like ordinal scale requires (fromless stressed respondents to more stressed ones or from less satisfied peopleto more satisfied ones). Then I calculated Spearman' rho which was -0.45 (whichseems to be logical) but significance value was 0.73. So how can I understand the data and the results? Correlationcoefficient tells me there is moderate negative correlation between the twovariables and at the same time, the correlation isn't significant so I can'tbelieve in it? Where did I go wrong? (When I chose Pearson or Spearman?)and what should I do? How can I interpret these results? Is there a correlationbetween being stressed out from the stress events and being satisfied with yourjob, or not?Sorry for my English (I'm at the intermediate level here)and my potentially inappropriate question (I'm a beginner here).Thank you for replying in advance!
2. (Original post by Alanky)
Hello, I need to fix the problem choosing and interpreting thecorrect statistical test for my data. I have data from (a) Minnesota Job SatisfactionQuestionnaire short form (20 questions, answers from 1 (=very dissatisfied) to5 (=very satisfied)) and (b) from Social Readjustment Rating Scale (43 items, minimumof summed scores of stress events is 12 and the maximum score is 500). Number of respondents (doctors) = 60.
My hypothesis was that the more stress events was in aperson's life in the last 6 months, the less satisfied he/she will be, that is,the scores of Social Readjustment Rating Scale (which measures quantity andintensity of stress events) will be negatively associated with Job Satisfactionscores.
In my data Job Satisfaction scores are in a range of 20-60 and SRRS scores are in a range of 12-500. First I checked Pearson's r coefficient because all theresearches I met on this topic used this correlation. Results I got was: r =0.01 which is very low and means that there is no correlation between the twovariables and sig = 0.997 which is higher than 0.05 so it means I must rejectthe hypothesis that there is no correlation, right? Then I thought, maybe it's because my data is of ordinalmeasure because the data can be ranked just like ordinal scale requires (fromless stressed respondents to more stressed ones or from less satisfied peopleto more satisfied ones). Then I calculated Spearman' rho which was -0.45 (whichseems to be logical) but significance value was 0.73. So how can I understand the data and the results? Correlationcoefficient tells me there is moderate negative correlation between the twovariables and at the same time, the correlation isn't significant so I can'tbelieve in it? Where did I go wrong? (When I chose Pearson or Spearman?)and what should I do? How can I interpret these results? Is there a correlationbetween being stressed out from the stress events and being satisfied with yourjob, or not?Sorry for my English (I'm at the intermediate level here)and my potentially inappropriate question (I'm a beginner here).Thank you for replying in advance!
I would take a look at a plot between the two variables. I don't think you should use pearson's likert scales do not fit the assumptions of parametric tests. The reason why there is such a huge different between the pearson and spearman's scores need to be investigated - this could be because things like outliers have a much stronger effect on pearson's correlation and this can be spotted using a plot.

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