# How do you estimate correlations between ordinal and binary data in SPSS?

I'm struggling with my lab report. I have a questionnaire which contains Likert responses (1-7) as well as questions that require only yes or no answers. I want to see if there is a correlation between higher scores on the likert scale and responses to the binary answers to the other questions.

Specifically - the likert response is about anxiety levels. The binary (yes/no) answer is about negative consequences due to alcohol use. I want to just run the one ordinal likert item with all the negative consequence responses to see if there is a relationship. Can anyone help me?

Thanks so much for the fast comments. It definitely assures me that Spearman's Rho can be used but my main problem is the fact that i am mixing binary and ordinal variables together in the one correlation matrix. I have one ordinal variable (anxiety - 1-7 on likert scale) crossed with 13 dichotomous (0 or 1 representing yes or no) to answers ("have you ever been hospitalised due to your alcohol use?). I get statistically significant answers (<.05 and < .01 but the Correlation coefficients are tiny (i.e o.2) at best.

the hospitalisation is the DV an the anxiety levels the IV.

I just think i'm doing something wrong here. should i collapse the 13 binary variables in to one some how?

i can't see how SPSS will recognise the values between 1-7 when correlating with binary answers. i keep thinking it will just read that there is something in that box (ordinal) but not recognise the value (i.e 1-7) . but people keep saying that SPSS does in fact recognise this difference and account for it.

• What is your hypothesized relationship among the variables? Is the Likert scale question to be thought of as a dependent variable? An independent variable? Neither? (Sounds like a DV to me, that is, anxiety depends on consequences). Oct 3, 2012 at 10:51