Academic journal article Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling

The Method of Score Estimation Does Not Affect Main Results on Gender Differences in a Big Five Short Scale

Academic journal article Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling

The Method of Score Estimation Does Not Affect Main Results on Gender Differences in a Big Five Short Scale

Article excerpt

Introduction

Big Five

In the last twenty years five personality factors have been replicated in several cultures and languages (e.g. De Raad, Di Blas, & Perugini, 1998; Schmitt, Allik, McCrae, & Benet-Martinez, 2007), independently of inventories, statistical methods, and samples (Carroll, 2002; Fehr, 2006; Furnham & Fudge, 2008; Goldberg, 1990; John & Srivastava, 1999), although some other factors have also been found (e.g.; Ashton & Lee, 2007). The five basic dimensions Neuroticism (N), Extraversion (E), Openness to Experience (O), Agreeableness (A), and Conscientiousness (C) allow for a description of several main differences between individuals (Caspi, Roberts, & Shiner, 2005; Fehr, 2006), whereby each factor summarizes a large number of distinct, more specific personality characteristics (Borghans, Duckworth, Heckman, & Bas ter, 2008). Neuroticism captures individual differences in emotional stability, and it can be defined with adjectives like anxious, irritable, and tense. Persons with high scores on the Extraversion-scale enjoy social interaction with others, are cheerful, and good entertainers. The scale Openness to Experience is associated with intellectual curiosity, love of variety, and lively fantasy life. Conscientiousness can be described in more detail with diligence, selfdiscipline, achievement striving, and dutifulness. Altruistic, in good faith and sociable are construct descriptive adjectives for Agreeableness (Costa Jr & McCrae, 1992).

Gender differences in the Big Five

There appear to exist systematic personality differences between various groups. A wellstudied difference in psychological sciences is the personality difference between men and women. Most studies show that women appraise themselves to be more neurotic and agreeable (Costa Jr, Terracciano, & McCrae, 2001; Feingold, 1994; Lippa, 2010; Weller & Matiaske, 2009). These differences are very robust and can be captured with broadband inventories like NEO-PI-R (Costa Jr et al., 2001), and Big Five Inventory (Lang, Lüdtke, & Asendorpf, 2001; Schmitt, Realo, Voracek, & Allik, 2008), as well as with several short instruments (e.g.; Goodwin & Gotlib, 2004; Rammstedt, 2007). The results for the traits C, E, and O are not as uniform. If O is measured with the NEO-PI-R on facet level, then the agreement depends on the reference object mentioned in the item. Males rather agree upon items concerning ideas and females upon items dealing with aesthetics, feelings, and actions. Concerning E, there is a clear dependence between gender and observed facets, too. Men tend to approve statements on Excitement Seeking, while women find themselves more in statements to Warmth. On dimension level, however, these facet scores are averaged and significant differences between males and females disappear (Costa Jr et al., 2001). In some studies women had slightly higher measures in C (Feingold, 1994; Goodwin & Gotlib, 2004; Rammstedt, 2007), but there are other studies finding no significant difference (Chapman, Duberstein, Sorensen, & Lyness, 2007; Costa Jr et al., 2001; Lippa, 2010; Weller & Matiaske, 2009). If studies are conducted to draw conclusions for populations, an instrument must be able to represent these differences between various subgroups.

Testing measurement invariance in personality questionnaires

Before testing group differences, it is necessary to ensure that the instrument is measuring the same construct in the same way independently of group membership, which is called measurement invariance or measurement equivalence. Complete measurement equivalence or invariance indicates ''...whether or not, under different conditions of observing and studying phenomena, measurement operations yield measures of the same attribute'' (Horn & McArdle, 1992, p. 117). This means that the same expressions of latent variables lead to the same values in the indicator variables, regardless of sample membership (Weiber & Mühlhaus, 2010, p. …

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